Explaining information systems change: A punctuated socio-technical change model

Kalle Lyytinen, Mike Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We outline a Punctuated Socio-Technical Information System Change model. The model recognizes both incremental and punctuated socio-technical change in the context of information systems at multiple levels - the work system level, the building system level, and the organizational environment. It uses socio-technical event sequences and their properties to explain how a change outcome emerged. The critical events in these sequences correspond to gaps in socio-technical systems. By conceiving information system (IS) change as a multi-level and punctuated sequence of socio-technical events, IS researchers can conceive plausible and accurate process explanations of IS change outcomes, including IS failures. Such explanations are located in the middle range and thus avoid the highly abstract and stylized closed-boxed factor models of change, but go beyond the idiographic open box histories of singular change processes. © 2008 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-613
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Change theories
  • Information system development
  • Middle-range theory
  • Process models
  • Punctuated equilibrium
  • Socio-technical theory


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