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Abstract

This article collects and analyzes seventy-six maturity model articles that have been published in leading Information Systems (IS) journals and conference proceedings during the past fifteen years. We study the IS literature on maturity models from three different perspectives: a research perspective, which is particularly relevant for scholars who are interested in the design and adoption of maturity models; a publication perspective, which reflects the interests of authors and reviewers of maturity model articles; and a practitioner’s perspective, which is especially relevant for maturity model users and consultants. The results are interesting in several respects. From the research perspective, the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is the most dominant foundation of past IS research on maturity models. In contrast, theories on the design and adoption of maturity models are distinctly rare in our sample. The publication outlets that are considered feature quantitative and qualitative empirical research alike, but―with a decreasing number―purely conceptual research as well. Of late, past maturity model research can mainly be located in the area of IT and organizations, while the formerly very popular domain of IS development is of less interest today. As for the publication perspective, we find that the level of publication activity in the field has generally been increasing over the last fifteen years, with North American and European researchers dominating the academic discussion. Finally, with regard to the practitioner’s perspective, we compile advice on the practical application of maturity models from a critical analysis of the literature. It is hoped that the results can stimulate and guide future research in the field and inform the development and usage of theoretically sound maturity models in practice.

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