Persistence and change in system development: A dialectical view

Rajiv Sabherwal, Michael Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper seeks to advance our understanding of the dynamics of persistence and change in information systems development. Towards this goal, it draws upon dialectical theory, which enables viewing persistence and change during IS development relative to the thesis operating at that time. This approach recognizes that the nature of the system itself often changes during the development process. This also allows simultaneous attention to persistence and change, combining persistence with certain elements of the thesis along with change in some other elements. Empirically based on three cases, the paper provides insights into the content and process elements of theses, governing the characteristics of the system and the nature of the development process, respectively. It offers one possible explanation for the evolution of the IS development process and some insights into the strategies for improving this process through greater attention to the theses and the dialectic processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-92
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Information Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


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