Advertisement

It’s About Business not Politics”: Software Development Between Palestinians and Israelis

  • Nina Boulus-RødjeEmail author
  • Pernille Bjørn
  • Ahmad Ghazawneh
Conference paper

Abstract

This paper focuses on the collaboration in an Israeli-Palestinian tech start-up company. We investigate the strategies enacted by the IT developers for managing the political dynamics and making collaboration possible under the highly challenging political conditions. We found that one of the key strategies was explicitly separating the work domain of software development from the domain of politics. We argue that the IT developers manage to collaborate by displacing the political conflict through strategies of non-confrontation instead of engaging in translating conflicting agendas against each other. By insisting on keeping politics outside of the workspace, the IT developers adopt a strategy of keeping the collaboration together by keeping politics and work apart. However, we found that despite the attempts to manage the sub-group dynamics, politics constantly invade the workspace and challenge the collaboration. Significant resources are invested into managing the regimes of differentiated identity cards, permits, and checkpoints, all of which have consequences on the employees’ freedom or restriction of mobility. Thus, we argue that the IT development domain is inseparable from and deeply dependent upon the political domain.

Keywords

Common Ground Political Situation Gaza Strip Political Conflict Demographic Attribute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Palestinian developers from Alpha for welcoming us so warmly to Ramallah and for taking the time to kindly and generously share with us their honest reflections and critical experiences. This work was supported by The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation: International Network Programme grant #4070-00010B.

References

  1. Aal, K., Yerousis, G., et al. (2014). Come_in@ Palestine: Adapting a german computer club concept to a Palestinian refugee camp. In Proceedings of the 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration Across Boundaries: Culture, Distance and Technology (pp. 111–120).Google Scholar
  2. Associated Press (2009). Israeli-Palestinian partnership launches startup. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3746717,00.html
  3. B’Tselem. (2014). Qalandiya checkpoint, March 2014: An obstacle to normal life. http://www.btselem.org/photoblog/201404_qalandiya_checkpoint.
  4. B’Tselem (2015). Checkpoint, physical obstructions, and forbidden roads. http://www.btselem.org/freedom_of_movement/checkpoints_and_forbidden_roads
  5. Blomberg, J., and Karasti, H., (2013). Reflections on 25 years of ethnography in CSCW. Computer supported cooperative Work, 22(4–6), 373–423.Google Scholar
  6. Bjørn, P., & Ngwenyama, O. (2009). Virtual team collaboration: Building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence. Information Systems Journal, 19(3), 227–253.Google Scholar
  7. Bjørn, P., Esbensen, M., Jensen, R. E., Matthiesen, S. (2014). Does distance still matter? Revisiting the CSCW fundamentals on distributed collaboration. ACM Transaction Computer Human Interaction (ToChi), 21(5), 1–27.Google Scholar
  8. Boden, A., Avram, G., et al. (2009). Knowledge management in distributed software development teams: Does culture matter? In International Conference on Global Software Engineering (ICGSE) (pp. 18–27). Limerick, Ireland: IEEE Press.Google Scholar
  9. Boden, A., Rosswog, F., et al. (2014). Articulation spaces: Bridging the gab between formal and informal coordination. In Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Baltimore, USA: ACM.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, H., & Brennan, S. (1991). Grounding in communication: Perspectives on social shared cognition. In L. Resnick, J. Levine & S. Teasley (Eds.), (xiii, 429 pp). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  11. Cramton, C. D., & Hinds, P. (2005). Subgroup dynamics in internationally distributed teams: Ethnocenterism or cross-national learning. Research in Organizational Behavior, 26, 231–263.Google Scholar
  12. Cramton, C. D., & Hinds, P. (2014). An embedded model of cultural adaptation in global teams. Organization Science, 25(4), 1056–1081.Google Scholar
  13. Hage, G. (2013). In unoccupied Palestine: Keynote delivered at the ‘between dependence and independence: What future for Palestine?’ conference. Ramallah, Palestine: Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, Birzeit University.Google Scholar
  14. Hass, A. (2002). Israels closure policy: An ineffective strategy of containment and repression. Journal of Palestine Studies, 31(3), 5–20.Google Scholar
  15. Jensen, R. E., & Bjørn, P. (2012). Divergence and convergence in global software development: Cultural complexities as societal structures. COOP: Design of cooperative systems (pp. 123–136). France: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Jensen, R. E., & Nardi, B. (2014). The rhetoric of culture as an act of closure in cross-national software development department. European conference of information system (ECIS). Tel Aviv: AIS.Google Scholar
  17. Khoury, G., & Khoury, M. (Eds.). (2014). Cases on management and organizational behaviour in an Arab context. USA: Business Science Reference IGI Global.Google Scholar
  18. Marcus, G. (1995). Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review Anthropology, 24, 95–117.Google Scholar
  19. Matthiesen, S., Bjørn, P., et al. (2014). Figure out how to code with the hands of others: Recognizing cultural blind spots in global software development. Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW). Baltimore, USA: ACM.Google Scholar
  20. Muna, F. A., & Khoury, G. (2012). The Palestinian executive: Leadership under challenging conditions. London: Gower Publishing, Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Olson, G. M., & Olson, J. S. (2000). Distance matters. Human-Computer Interaction, 15(2), 139–178.Google Scholar
  22. Olson, J., & Olson, G. (2014). Working together apart: Collaboration over the internet. California, US: Morgan & Claypool Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Pilecki, A., & Hammack, P. (2014). Negotiating the past, imagining the future: Israeli and Palestinian narratives in intergroup dialog. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 43, 100–113.Google Scholar
  24. Schmidt, K., & Bannon, L. (1992). Taking CSCW seriously: Supporting articulation work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) An International Journal, 1(1–2), 7–40.Google Scholar
  25. Suchman, L. (1994). Do categories have politics? The language/action perspective reconsidered. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) An International Journal, 2(3), 177–190.Google Scholar
  26. Tawil-Souri, H. (2011). Colored identity: The politics and materiality of ID cards in Palestine/Israel. Social Text, 29(2), 67–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tawil-Souri, H. (2012). Digital occupation: Gaza’s high-tech enclosure. Journal of Palestine Studies, 41(2), 27–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watson-Manheim, M. B., Chudoba, K., et al. (2002). Discontinuities and continuities: A new way to understand virtual work. Information Technology and People, 15(3), 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Watson-Manheim, M. B., Chudoba, K., et al. (2012). Perceived discontinuities and constructed continuities in virtual work. Information Systems Journal, 22(1), 29–52.Google Scholar
  30. Wulf, V., Aal, K., et al. (2013). Fighting against the wall: Social media use by political activist in a Palestinian village. Human factors in computing systems CHI. Paris, France: ACM.Google Scholar
  31. Yoo, D., Lake, M., et al. (2013). Envisioning across generations: A multi-lifespan information system for international justice in Rwanda. Human factors in computing systems CHI. Paris, France: ACM.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Boulus-Rødje
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pernille Bjørn
    • 1
  • Ahmad Ghazawneh
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations