The paper in question is Peter Keen's "Information Systems and Organizational Change". This is considered a classic paper in software engineering, I'm studying it right now for a retrospective on a project that has been difficult. The paper is about why the implementation of MIS (management information science) systems can be difficult from a sociological and political science perspective.

I'm having trouble understanding what he means by pluralism, especially with relation to counterimplementation.

Here is a link to the paper in full: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/41c0/5e6c2cd210bb67b64adbebfb3f16fec33e58.pdf


This is a great paper.

I believe what he's getting at is that the classical view of a business, is One CEO at the top giving out orders Howard Hughes style who holds all the power and the whole business works towards their goals, following and helping the strategy along.

In reality he is saying there are multiple department heads, board members, team leaders etc all with little bits of power each of which have their own goals. A plurality of powers, much like a parliament with several different political parties.

If a project is proposed that some of those department heads don't like, they will use 'Counter Implementations' to either stop the project or take it over.


I think he is saying that pluralism is the presence of factions different from your own with differing objectives and motivations. These factions' objectives and motivations are likely different and possibly contrary to your own factions. They may be competing with you.

Furthermore, the degree to which a situation is pluralistic can constrain the manner in which changes are accomplished - whether coalitions must be built and negotiated. If the pluralism of a situation is not addressed, you basically haven't figured out the theory-W (Boehm). Theory-W in short means, "make everyone a Winner".

Boehm - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

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