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Punctuated Equilibrium Model for Southwest Airline Case Study

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    Evolution is characterized by long periods of genetic makeup and environmental homeostasis of species changes very little. One of the main reasons of shifting resource constraint is a sudden environmental Jolt that may punctuate the environmental equilibrium (Sherman, 1999). This theory is very different with Darning’s theory that evolution coming from a slow transformation of species overtime. Elderly and Gould also claimed that most evolution occurs in infrequent transformation punctuations to new species but the species remain in stasis (Liechtenstein 1995).

    Based on Ornamental and Dustman (1994), punctuated equilibrium is where long period of stability (equilibrium) are punctuated by short periods of more radical, revolutionary change (Indianapolis, Dawson, 2009, p. 285) and happens in rapid bursts throughout the firm, balanced by long periods of incremental change (Liechtenstein 1995). The two main forces for change based from Dustman and Ornamental (1985) are: (1) sustained low performance (2) major changes in the environment.

    Paleontology punctuated equilibrium (PEP) argued; new forms develop and have a little effect on dominant species and it suggests recessive and dominant forms co-exist during placid environmental periods (Sherman, 1999). These forms develop by two ways; (1) allophonic speciation. Occurs when physical barriers Symmetric speciation. Occurs when species members adapt differently to varying niches within a single environment. Symmetric speciation is more gradual than allophonic change (Sherman, 1999). These two barriers create incubators where new firms face less resource contention (1999).

    In contrast to the above, from a self- organization perspective, small changes are the key to maintain stability within vigorously dissipative system in an organization(Liechtenstein 1995). This approach described as energetic processes that build up over time until they go beyond certain threshold, commencing desalination and transformation progress and Liechtenstein believes a greater amount of flexibility and complexity can emerge with an analysis of these punctuated shifts using self-organization framework (Dynamic efficiency, Bifurcation at the threshold and Re-orientation to a new level of complexity)(1995).

    Punctuated equilibrium history has reanalyzes and this term implemented in an organizational transformation. Campbell (1969) described three general models. This process describes how deep structure changes over time and how it may act at any level of deep structure (Willing 1999): Figure 1: The punctuated equilibrium change process that may act at any level of deep structure and an irregularity disrupts or more levels of deep structure. Variations emerge as deep structure reconfigures. Saturation results in the sorting ND retention of variation, resulting in a return to stability (Willing 1999).

    According to Carsick (1988,1989), instead of developing gradually, work groups experience long periods of inertia that are punctuated by concentrated revolutionary periods of quantum change (Change, Border & Duck 2003) : 1. 1st phase of inertia: The direction of the organization is determined by group’s meeting. 2. 2nd phase of inertia: a second period of inertia. Based on Carsick, a group progress is triggered from awareness of participants on the time and deadlines than by completion of a thorough amount of work in a specific placement stage.

    Ornamental and Dustman (1994) apply this approach in their organizational research suggested that punctuated equilibrium helped explain firm leaders’ perseverance to a strategic course of action in spite of poor organization strategy and environment (Sherman, 1999). However, leader’s power creates continuous inertia until the organization has to take rapid and sudden change to ensure firm survival. Dawson approach; pointing out that change is unpredictable and therefore, organizations need to accommodate and adapt to the unexpected, unforeseen turns and twists, the evasions that are all part of managing change over time (Dawson, 2003).

    Meanwhile, in Line’s key contribution to organizational change; he believed that the equilibrium needs to destabilize before old behavior can be unlearnt. Thus, new behavior successfully adopted (Burners,Bernard 2004). Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines Co. Is a major U. S. Airline, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The airline was established in 1967 and adopted their current name in 1971. In 1971, as a intrastate air carrier that prohibited from interstate commerce by the US Civil Aeronautics Boards (CAB)(Sherman, 1999).

    Applying The Punctuated Equilibrium Metaphor Parallels to the allophonic speciation that referred to the above topic, allophonic barriers (I. E. Government regulations, dominant firms, physical remoteness) limiting direct competition. Southwest Airlines fortify its position as an efficient competitor with a very minimal competition by serving only Texas. (Sherman, 1999). (adapted from Balloon and Halley, 2008:3)(Dawson Indianapolis 2014 p. 53) Southwest Airlines were managed to keep step with what environment needed at that time with their starting point from interstate commerce by the US Civil

    Aeronautics Board (CAB) (Sherman, 1999). CAB responsible in establishing routes, set fares, and as a result, airline fares relatively high. Dustman and Ornamental claimed that drives the organization to changes that seek to realign structure, culture and practices with external environmental factors (Indianapolis, Dawson, 2009). In the above figure, external environment factors we could refer it as CAB which include other organizational systems. The external environment has nested, multi level structure that may disseminate between any levels of the organizational systems and its environment(Willing 1999).

    According to Giddings (1984), he summarized the new synthesis of punctuated equilibrium in multi-level interplay of organization’s deep structure, wider environment and actors(Willing 1999). Actors are people who act through organization. He suggests that both (structure and action) influence outcomes that the actors and their environment may affect the other (1999). More fundamental change in the wider environment may have a similarly effect on a coupled system thus would cause a major disruption to the deep structure of organization then could trigger a change process.

    Second point from Giddied says; action probably originates room within the system and such action is partially constrained by each actor’s deep structure. In this case study, the action that we could link with Southwest Airlines are the massive decision Southwest Airlines took 30 years back by focusing only Texas dressing female flight attendants in hot pants and calling Southwest the “love” airline to highlight that Southwest flew from love field in Dallas (Sherman, 1999).

    Based in figure 2, this action we could relate it with organizational change taken by Southwest elaborated is possible to move forward and examine some of its consequences. To unmarried Giddings synthesis, refer to the Giddings ‘ (1984) ‘saturation’ below: Figure 3: Organizational change results from the interaction and independence of the different levels of the organization’s durable deep structure, its external environment and the purposeful action of actors internal and external to the organization (Willing 1999).

    Deregulation punctuated the previously placid environment enjoyed by the major carriers (Sherman, 1999). Few major carriers, for example; Pan Am and Eastern) were unable to compete in the post-shock environment and failed (Morrison, Winston, 1999). Punctuated Equilibrium Problems Although Southwest Airlines changes able to fortify its position in the market sector and motivated dominant airlines (I. E. American, Delta, and Eastern) to lower their fares, but, there were some of other airlines unable to cope with the changes happened.

    There are some issues that arise in with the punctuated equilibrium analogies to evolutionary theory that should be clarified the processes and roles: 1 . Buchanan and Buddha (2008) argue that rapid change is critical to company survival, yet is politicized and contested. Change agents have to be more proactive what they term as ‘power-coercive solutions’. Any contested change will necessitate political activity whilst dealing with opponents (Dawson, Indianapolis, 2014). 2.

    A emergence of new species, what actually evolves in this approach to firm transformation? Different evolutionary laws existing at different organizational- societal levels. Environmental forces is a main role in the emergence of new roles (Liechtenstein 1995) 3. Selection model. Critical element of evolutionary theory, which is absent in an organizational transformation. Distribution of variations in a population are present in an evolutionary theory however, in punctuated equilibrium, o variations emerge and no selection mechanisms defined (Liechtenstein 1995) .

    Conclusion In this report, we have examined punctuated equilibrium model for understanding change and relate this approach with Southwest Airline case study to give a better understanding and to show that punctuated equilibrium do successful to be implemented. But the question is, does this model is the most accurate model for transformation change? There is no doubt that punctuated equilibrium theorists have been extremely helpful in giving empirical validity to the transformation nature of organizational change.

    Organizational analogies to punctuated equilibrium are not strong enough to answer to the question above. Change is not only one event, but it is an ongoing event or process for individual, group or firm, a puzzle that can never be fully answered at over time. Summarization this report with these theorists say (Collins,1998; Canter, 1983; Peters and Waterman, 1982, Wilson, 1992) : “To survive, it was argued, organizations needed to reconfigure themselves to build internal and external synergies… And entrepreneurship through the creation of strong, appropriate organizational cultures” (B. Burners, 2004)

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