Today’s world is changing at unprecedent speed and scale becoming more complex to understand. Taxonomies represent an important tool for understanding and analyzing complex domains based on the classification of objects. In the Information Systems (IS) domain, Nickerson et al. (2013) were the first to propose a taxonomy development method, addressing the observation that many taxonomies have been developed in an ‘ad-hoc’ approach. More than five years after Nickerson et al.’s (2013) publication, we examined to what extent recently published taxonomy articles account for existing methodological guidance. Therefore, we identified and reviewed 33 taxonomy articles published between 2013 and 2018 in leading Information Systems journals. Our results were sobering: We found few taxonomy articles that followed any specific development method. Although most articles correctly understood taxonomies as conceptually or empirically derived groupings of dimensions and characteristics, our study revealed that the development process often remained opaque and that taxonomies were hardly evaluated. We discuss these findings and potential root causes related to method design, method adoption, and the general positioning of taxonomy research in the IS domain. Our study proposes stimulating questions for future research and contributes to the IS community’s progress towards methodologically well-founded taxonomies.
Oberländer, Anna Maria; Lösser, Benedict; and Rau, Daniel, (2019). "TAXONOMY RESEARCH IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS: A SYSTEMATIC ASSESSMENT". In Proceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm & Uppsala, Sweden, June 8-14, 2019. ISBN 978-1-7336325-0-8 Research Papers.