Maturity Model

A Maturity Model is a tool to help assess the capability and effectiveness of an organization in achieving continuous improvement.

The maturity concept emerged out of quality management. The concept of maturity stages was introduced by Crosby” (1979) with his “quality management process maturity grid”. Maturity models essentially represent theories concerning how organizational capabilities evolve in a stage-by-stage manner along an anticipated, desired, or logical maturation path (Pöppelbuß & Röglinger, 2011). The concept of organizational capabilities is based on the resource-based view used in the strategic management literature (Ulrich & Smallwood, 2004; Wernerfelt, 1984). An organization’s capability is “the ability of an organization to perform a coordinated set of tasks, utilizing organizational resources, for the purpose of achieving a particular end result” (Helfat & Peteraf, 2003). The maturing entities in this research are organizational capabilities.

Maturity models can be seen as artefacts to determine a company’s status quo and as “deriving measures for improvement” (Becker, Knackstedt, & Pöppelbuß, 2009). The most well-known maturity model in the IT sector is CMM, of which version 1.0 was published in 1991 (Paulk et al., 1991). CMM was developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. Interest in maturity emerged from quality management (SEI, 2010). In the 1930s, Walter Shewhart (1931) began his work on process improvement with his principles of statistical quality control. Since the launch of CMM, hundreds of maturity models have been launched across a multitude of domains by researchers and practitioners (De Bruin, Freeze, Kaulkarni, & Rosemann, 2005). CMM also has its critics (Bach, 1995; Ngwenyama & Nielsen, 2003), who especially argue that it places too much emphasis on processes and that in order to improve organizations, attention must be paid to other aspects such as people, culture, or leadership as well.

The answer to the question “What makes organizational capabilities mature?” depends on which rationale is embraced, and tends to focus on the leverage points used in organizational change initiatives (Maier, Moultrie, & Clarkson, 2012). We adopt the definition of Becker et al. (2009) of the maturity model: “A maturity model consists of a sequence of maturity levels for a class of objects. It represents an anticipated, desired, or typical evolution path of these objects shaped as discrete stages. Typically, these objects are organizations or processes”. The aims of maturity models are “raising awareness” of what is going wrong, and “benchmarking” to compare results across organizations (Maier et al., 2012). Therefore, maturity models are helpful in finding better solutions for change. However, in order to be made useful, they must be applied to a substantial number of companies for valid comparison

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