Utilizing development research to guide People Capability Maturity Model adoption considerations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation


Philip Doughty


Development research, People Capability Maturity Model, Organizational development, Workforce improvement, Human performance technology

Subject Categories

Business | Education | Instructional Media Design | Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods


To thrive in today's competitive global business environment, companies must compete for scarce, high-quality human resources. The People Capability Maturity Model ® (People CMM ® ) is one approach to help businesses increase their ability to attract, develop, motivate, organize, and retain talented personnel while increasing the competency and capability levels of their workforce and organization. This model, developed by the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, was initially utilized primarily within knowledge-intensive sectors of the market, but its use has grown significantly leading to utilization within market sectors traditionally unfamiliar with Capability Maturity Model ® s. As a result, companies are encountering challenges in learning about and adopting this model. Through literature research, a survey, case studies, and interviews, one determines that there is a lack of easily accessible, germane People CMM-related information available to assist decision makers in making informed decisions regarding utilizing this model to address workforce improvement objectives. This lack of easily accessible, germane information results in inefficiencies in the information gathering process that contributes to opportunity cost-related losses and poor decision-making.

This study identifies learning opportunities and develops interventions to help inform decision makers on whether and how to utilize the People CMM. Three main content areas, comprised of ten subcategories, of information were identified as being desired by decision makers. Based on identified user needs and obtainable information, informational tools were developed to accelerate the informing of decision makers.

A promising research approach---Development Research---was utilized to investigate this real-world problem and develop practical products to accelerate informing of decision makers about the People CMM and its adoption. Development Research focuses upon six primary aspects: preliminary investigation, practitioner participation, successive approximation, practical results, reflection, and theoretical contribution.

Beyond helping to address this practical problem, a goal for this study was to advance the knowledge base and theory in three areas: People CMM, design theory and practice, and Development Research. Insights and models are advanced relating to each of these areas.


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