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

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


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.


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.



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.


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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

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