Pplication with Peer Review: Analyzing Stall Points

Application with Peer Review: Analyzing Stall Points

The United States was a young country in 1790, when Henry Wood founded a company to import and distribute English-milled flour for baking. The company prospered and took on other partners, becoming a joint-stock ownership. In 1895, the company introduced a new brand of premium flour, King Arthur Flour, which was a commercial success. When retail sales to home cooks declined, the company started selling to commercial bakers. Over the years, markets for flour changed, the product line expanded, and new owners came in. When the company encountered problems, it made changes, but, by the 1970s, the company faced significant financial pressures. The companyas president made several critical decisions, including selling off all product lines except the core flour business. He moved the company from Boston, Massachusetts, to a less expensive location in Vermont. Then, in 1996, the company became an employee-owned firm. More than 220 years after its founding, The King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., is still in business (and is still selling flour), making it one of the oldest companies in the United States (King Arthur, 2013).

Through more than two centuries of operation, King Arthur experienced successes and failures. When problems arose, the company took actions that turned out to be mostly successful. Like King Arthur, virtually all companies with a long history have experienced periods when growth stalled. Recognizing and analyzing a stall is a critical factor in determining what action will be effective.

As you review the article a?When Growth Stalls,a? (located in this weekas resources) consider the pervasiveness of this problem. Also consider how a growth stall fits a systems pattern, or archetype. Consider the systems archetypes that Senge reviews in Chapter 6, a?Natureas Templates: Identifying the Patterns that Control Events.a? Review the articles a?Towards the Definition and Use of a Core Set of Archetypal Structures in System Dynamicsa? and a?The System Archetypesa? (located in this weekas resources) to view examples in the use of archetypes to analyze business problems.

As you review the case study a?Bayonne Packaging, Inc.,a? (located in this weekas resources) consider the factors that contributed to the companyas first loss in 10 years. Think about how you would use common systems archetypes to analyze Bayonneas situation. Consider what those diagrams could reveal in understanding the companyas performance problems and which systems strategies could resolve these problems.


For this Assignment, prepare a systems diagram illustrating Bayonneas declining performance, including the stall points, based on your analysis of the organization.

Include a summary of your systems diagram that identifies one or more systems archetypes issues. Present one or more suggestions for improving Bayonneas systems based on your analysis.

Post a draft of your systems diagram and summary by Day 3 to the Peer Review Forum in the Assignments area of the course navigation menu.
General Guidance on Assignment Length: Your summary and diagram will typically require 4a 5 pages (2a 3 pages if single spaced), including the diagram.


Meadows, D. H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.

Chapter 4, a?Why Systems Surprise Usa? (pp. 86a 110)

In Chapter 4, the author describes various reasons dynamic systems are surprising (i.e., individualas inadequate mental models) and explores how understanding system characteristics can only lessen surprisesa it cannot eliminate surprises altogether.

Chapter 6, a?Leverage Pointsa Places to Intervene in a Systema? (pp. 145a 165)

Chapter 6 focuses on the importance of changing the structure of systems to produce more desirable leverage points. In addition, the author discusses balancing and reinforcing feedback loops, and the ability to self-organize as the strongest form of system resilience.

Chapter 7, a?Living in a World of Systemsa? (pp. 166a 185)

In Chapter 7, the author provides an overview of encountering new systems based on observation and experience. This overview includes observing the behavior of a system before disturbing it, fully exposing mental models, and compiling accurate and complete information regarding a system.

Braun, W. (2002). The system archetypes. In The systems modeling workbook. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from sys_archetypes.pdf

This article reviews common archetypes and explains how to use them in analyzing business issues.

Olson, M. S., van Bever, D., & Verry, S. (2008). When growth stalls. Harvard Business Review, 86(3), 50a 61.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Well-regarded companies with strong sales can find themselves in an unexpected and unwelcome sales stall. Although leadership at these companies fails to anticipate these reversals, analysts find that many stalls could have been predicted and averted.

Wolstenholme, E. F. (2003). Towards the definition and use of a core set of archetypal structures in system dynamics. System Dynamics Review, 19(1), 7a 26.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article reviews system archetypes, suggesting classification schemes and new sets of archetypes. The author encourages decision makers to use these tools to ensure systemic thinking.

Shapiro, R., & Morrison, P. (2012). Bayonne Packaging, Inc. [Case study]. HBS Case 4420. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School. Retrieved from 54012780b9e8f235b65dfa0fbfa988e1

In this case study, a new manager at a manufacturing company needs to understand why increases in sales resulted in profit losses and quality problems.

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Chapter 5, a?A Shift of Minda? (Review from Week 3)

Chapter 6, a?Natureas Templates: Identifying the Patterns That Control Eventsa? (Review from Week 3)