Punctuated Equilibrium Theory in IS Research

  • Christopher T. Street
  • James S. Denford
Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 28)


Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory originating in paleobiology which has been adopted by management researchers to explain organizational change. In this theory, episodes of radical change are preceded and followed by longer periods of relative stability. Comprised of equilibrium periods, revolutionary periods, and punctuations, Punctuated Equilibrium can be contrasted with other perspectives on organizational change including persistent gradualism, tectonic shift, and turbulent adaptation. The use of the theory in IS research is identified in areas as diverse as virtual teams, IS implementation, organizational change, and strategic alignment. Finally, suggestions regarding how researchers may operationalize Punctuated Equilibrium are made focusing on key components of the definition of punctuations.


Punctuated equilibrium Organizational change IS implementation Virtual teams Strategic alignment 



Information systems


National Sports Organization


Punctuated equilibrium


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationRoyal Military College of CanadaKingstonCanada

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