Organizational Transformation as punctuated Equilibrium: an Empirical test

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Authors: E. Romanelli, M.L. Tushman

Publication Year: 1994


Journal: Academy of Management Journal

Volume: 37

Issue: 5

Categories: Organizational Change, Qualitative, Revolt


The punctuated equilibrium model of organizational transformation has emerged as a prominent theoretical framework for explaining fundamental changes in patterns of organizational activity. To date, however, few aspects of the model have been tested formally. We tested three basic arguments of the model using data on U.S. minicomputer producers. Supportive results showed that (1) a large majority of organizational transformations were accomplished via rapid and discontinuous change over most or all domains of organizational activity, (2) small changes in strategies, structures, and power distributions did not accumulate to produce fundamental transformations, and (3) major environmental changes and chief executive officer succession influenced transformations.