李卫锋等:Intellectual structure of research in business ethics: A citation and co-citation analysis on Business Ethics Quarterly

2018-01-03

Abstract:

Purpose

The study aims to map the intellectual structure of business ethics studies by analyzing 17,246 citations of 225 papers published inBusiness Ethics Quarterly(BEQ) in the year between 2005 and 2014. Specifically, the purpose of the study is to describe the current state ofBEQ, identify the most influential journals and works, identify the key themes of business ethics studies during 2005-2014 and, at the same time, report the changes in themes by making a comparison between two time periods – 2005-2009 and 2010-2014.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the study presents the information of the authors, institutions and countries that contribute toBEQwith a statistical analysis. Second, the study identifies the most cited journals and works inBEQduring 2005-2014 with a citation analysis. Third, the study identifies the key research themes in business ethics studies with a co-citation analysis. With the help of factor and social network analysis (NA), the study groups the research themes and maps their links.

Findings

First, the statistical results show that many well-known researchers from famous US institutions publishing inBEQ. Second, the citation analysis results show that quite a few journals become mature gradually in business ethics domain. Besides, most of the influential works are normative and theoretical. Third, the co-citation results indicate that “stakeholder management” and “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) are two main themes in business ethics studies in the past decade. Specifically, “stakeholder management” attracts the most research interests in both two sub-time periods. In addition, compared with the pure studies on CSR during 2005-2009, increasing researchers are keen on the theme of “political CSR under globalization” in the second five years. Meanwhile, other focus like “society, state and business ethics” earns a certain degree of attention in the time window 2005-2009. And “accountability in MNCs” and “political philosophy” are the new concerns in the year between 2010 and 2014.

Originality/value

The study confirmsBEQ’s leadership role in business ethics domain. And, it further proves that business ethics has evolved as an independent discipline. It also helps the researchers to have a concise knowledge of the main contents and key points of business ethics research. Methodologically, co-citation analysis combined with factor and NA provides clear results and visualized figures which can be understood easily by the researchers and practitioners.

FromXiao, H., Wang, Y., Li, W., & Ma, Z. (2017). Intellectual structure of research in business ethics: A citation and co-citation analysis on Business Ethics Quarterly. Nankai Business Review International, 8(1), 100-120.

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