Several authors have claimed the need of the IS community to theorize the IT-artifact. Additionally, phenomena of ‘change’ in all its facets assume a prominent role in information systems research. This paper is targeting at the intersection of research on change and the IT-artifact. The lack of longitudinal studies in the IS-literature has obscured the challenges of theorizing the IT-artifact over time. This paper raises the question under what conditions an IT-artifact persists through time as one and the same object. By exploring the metaphysical assumptions of our common understanding of the IT-artifact the inadequacy of current conceptualizations of change and IT is demonstrated. The paper shows that the commonly held identity bases on a substance philosophical viewpoint. A conceptualization of identity based on process philosophy is introduced as an alternative that avoids shortcomings of the former. Thereby, new means to study information systems and their evolution over time evolve.
Schellhammer, Stefan, "Metaphysics of Change and Identity" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 100.