We investigate irreversible acceptance dynamics, leading to phenomena typical for paradigm change not described by widely used reversible and static behavioral models, e.g., multistability, hysteresis, critical parameter values (tipping points), irreversible state changes. Based on a recycling model, we explain these phenomena and develop a simple, generic mathematical model describing the basic traits of acceptance dynamics. Analytical investigations and numerical experiments with this generic model show reproduction of the above mentioned phenomena. In addition, the generic model shows the interplay between internal and external forces. The relation of their time constants is shown to play a crucial role, leading to reversible elasticity dynamics or irreversible acceptance dynamics. Critical parameter values (tipping points) separating elasticity dynamics from acceptance dynamics can be deduced from the generic model. We show that some simplifications applied to the waste recycling model lead to the generic acceptance model. Further, the acceptance model is shown to comprise also the well-known Bass model to describe market diffusion of new products. Finally, we discuss benefits of the generic model, its possible extensions to include additional phenomena, and its research implications.