Punctuated Equilibrium Model


Punctuated equilibrium model (PEM) is an important model of organisational change in which change is relatively stable but experiences short bursts of fundamental change. The concept explains the strengths and drawbacks of the model and uses illustrative case studies to highlight the usefulness of the PEM for explaining change.

Technique Overview

Punctuated Equilibrium Model

Punctuated Equilibrium Model Definition

The punctuated equilibrium model of change "sees organisations as evolving through relatively long periods of stability (equilibrium periods) in their basic patterns of activity that are punctuated by relatively short bursts of fundamental change (revolutionary periods)" (Burnes, 2009).

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Business Evidence

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Business Application

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Further Reading

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Punctuated Equilibrium Model References (4 of up to 20) *

  • Baumgartner, F.R., and Jones, B.D. (1993) Agendas and Instability in American Politics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Burnes, B. (2009) Managing Change, Pearson Education, Essex.
  • Eldredge, N. and Gould, S. (1972) Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism, in T.J. Schopf (Ed.), Models in Paleobiology, 82-115, San Francisco: Freeman, Cooper & Co.
  • Gersick, C.J.G. (1991) Revolutionary Change Theories: A Multi-Level Exploration of the Punctuated Equilibrium Paradigm, Academy of Management Review, Vol.16(1), pp. 10-36.

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