Cargo cult behaviour or science1 is the semblance of doing things right, essentially simply going through the motions, regardless of the merits or probability of the activity engaged in to create or lead to the desired results.
1 “In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas he’s the controller and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.”
Richard, F. P. (1999). The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Helix Books.