Skip to main content
Log in

The transaction costs theory in international business research: a bibliometric study over three decades

  • Published:
Scientometrics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Transaction costs theory (TCT) has long been an important conceptual lens for examining International Business (IB) phenomena and perhaps especially relevant for the study of multinational corporations, entry mode choices and location selection. In this paper we examine the extent to which TCT been used and has impacted IB research. Methodologically, we conduct a bibliometric study of the articles published on nine top journals for publishing IB-related research. We use Jean-François Hennart’s research as the key marker for TCT in IB research given that Hennart’s work has been a hallmark in the discipline. On a sample of 377 articles published between 1982 and 2010, and using the works rather than the authors as the unit of analysis, we analyze citations, co-citations and a spatial visualization of the intellectual research themes delved into. Our analyses provide insights on the influence of Hennart but more broadly of TCT on IB research over the past three decades. We conclude that the TCT has a pervasive influence on a large array of IB research and that Hennart’s work is boundary-spanning, connecting several research themes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. Harzing, A-W. (2011) Journal Quality List, Thirty-eight Edition, Australia. Available for download at www.harzing.com/jql.htm

References

  • Acedo, F., Barroso, C., & Galan, J. (2006). The resource-based theory: Dissemination and main trends. Strategic Management Journal, 27(7), 621–636.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Acedo, J., & Casillas, C. (2005). Current paradigms in the international management field: An author co-citation analysis. International Business Review, 14(5), 619–639.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, E., & Gatignon, H. (1986). Modes of foreign entry: A transaction cost analysis and propositions. Journal of International Business Studies., 17(3), 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Balakrishnan, S., & Koza, M. (1993). Information asymmetry, adverse selection and joint ventures. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 20(1), 99–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ballas, A., & Theoharakis, V. (2003). Exploring diversity in accounting through faculty journal perceptions. Contemporary Accounting Research, 20(4), 619–644.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barkema, H., Bell, J., & Pennings, J. (1996). Foreign entry, cultural barriers and learning. Strategic Management Journal, 17(2), 151–166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barkema, H., & Vermeulen, F. (1998). International expansion through start-up or acquisition: A learning perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 41(1), 7–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bartlett, C., & Ghoshal, S. (1989). Managing across borders: The transnational solution. Harvard Business School Press.

  • Beamish, P. (2006). Publishing international (joint venture) research for impact. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 23(1), 29–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beamish, P., & Banks, J. (1987). Equity joint ventures and the theory of the multinational enterprise. Journal of International Business Studies, 18(2), 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borgman, C., & Furner, J. (2002). Scholarly communication and bibliometrics. In Cronin, B. (Ed.), Annual review of information science and technology (vol. 36, pp. 3–72). Medford, NJ: Information Today.

  • Börner, K., Chen, C., & Boyack, K. (2003). Visualizing knowledge domains. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 37(1), 179–255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boyack, K., Klavans, R., & Börner, K. (2005). Mapping the backbone of science. Scientometrics, 64(3), 351–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brouthers, K., Mudambi, R., & Reeb, D. (2012). The blockbuster hypothesis: Influencing the boundaries of knowledge. Scientometrics, 90(3), 959–982.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buckley, P., & Casson, M. (1976). The future of the multinational enterprise. London: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Callon, M., Courtial, J. & Penan, H. (1993). Cienciometría. La medición de la actividad científica: de la bibliometría a la vigilancia tecnológica. Ediciones Trea: Gijón, Spain.

  • Caves, R. (1982). Multinational enterprise and economic analysis. Cambridge: The Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chabowski, B., Hult, G., Kiyak, T., & Mena, J. (2009). The structure of JIBS’s social network and the relevance of intra-country variation for future research. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(5), 925–934.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan, K., Fung, H., & Leung, W. (2006). International business research: Trends and school rankings. International Business Review, 15(4), 317–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chandy, P., & Gopalakrishna, P. (1992). A content analysis of contributions to the Management International Review Journal. Management International Review, 32(3), 28–273.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chandy, P., & Williams, T. (1994). The impact of journals and authors on international business research: A citation analysis of JIBS articles. Journal of International Business Studies, 25, 715–728.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coase, R. (1937). The nature of the firm. Economica, 4(16), 386–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, W., & Levinthal, D. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1), 128–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Contractor, F., & Lorange, P. (Eds.). (1988). Why should firms cooperate? The strategy and economics basis for cooperative ventures. In Cooperative strategies in international business (pp. 3–28). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

  • Cottrill, C., Rogers, E., & Mills, T. (1989). Co-citation analysis of the scientific literature of innovation research traditions: Diffusion of innovations and technology transfer. Science Communication, 11(2), 181–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Croom, D. (1970). Dangers in the use of citation analysis. Nature, 227(5263), 1173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Culnan, M. (1986). The intellectual development of management information systems, 1972–1982: A co-citation analysis. Management Science, 32(2), 156–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Culnan, M. (1987). Mapping the intellectual structure of MIS, 1980–1985: A co-citation analysis. MIS Quarterly, 11(3), 341–350.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Culnan, M., O’Reilly, C, I. I. I., & Chatman, J. (1990). Intellectual structure of research in organizational behavior, 1972–1984: A cocitation analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 41(6), 453–458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ding, Y., Chowdhury, G., & Foo, S. (1999). Mapping the intellectual structure of information retrieval studies: An author co-citation analysis, 1987–1997. Journal of Information Science, 25(1), 67–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ding, Y., Gobinda, G., Schubert, F., & Weizhong, Q. (2000). Bibliometric information retrieval system (BIRS): A web search interface utilizing bibliometric research results. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 51(13), 1190–1204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diodato, V. (1994). Dictionary of bibliometrics. Binghamton: Haworth Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dubois, F., & Reeb, D. (2000). Ranking the international business journals. Journal of International Business Studies, 31(4), 689–704.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunning, J. (1993). Multinational enterprises and the global economy. Reading, MA: Addisson-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fernandez-Alles, M., & Ramos-Rodriguez, A. (2009). Intellectual structure of human resources management research: A bibliometric analysis of the journal Human Resource Management, 1985–2005. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(1), 161–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ferreira, M., Pinto, C., Serra, F., & Filipe, L. (2011). John Dunning’s influence in International Business/Strategy research: A bibliometric study in the Strategic Management Journal. Journal of Strategic Management Education, 7(2), 1–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferreira, M., Reis, N., Almeida, M. & Serra, F. (2013). International business research: Understanding past paths to design future research directions. In T. Devinney, T. Pedersen, & L. Tihanyi (Eds.), Philosophy of science and meta-knowledge in International Business and Management, Advances in International Management (Vol. 26, pp. 299–330). New York: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

  • Ferreira, M., Serra, F., & Isnard, M. (2012). Estudo bibliométrico da contribuição de Buckley e Casson (1976) na pesquisa em negócios internacionais. Revista Ciências da Administração, 14, 9–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Franke, R., Edlund, T., & Oster, F. (1990). The development of strategic management: Journal quality and article impact. Strategic Management Journal, 11(3), 243–253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Furrer, O., Sudharshan, D., Thomas, H., & Alexandre, M. (2008). Resource configurations, generic strategies and firm performance: Exploring the parallels between resource-based and competitive strategy theories in a new industry. Journal of Strategy and Management, 1(1), 15–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gatignon, H., & Anderson, E. (1988). The multinational corporation’s degree of control over foreign subsidiaries: An empirical test of a transaction cost explanation. Journal of Law Economics and Organization, 4(2), 305–336.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gomes-Casseres, B. (1989). Ownership structures of foreign subsidiaries. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, 2, 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3), 481–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Griffith, D., Cavusgil, S., & Elgar, E. (2008). Emerging themes in international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(7), 1220–1235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Griffith, D., Cavusgil, S., & Xu, S. (2006). An analysis of scholarship in the leading international business journals: 19962005. Working paper, Michigan State University.

  • Gulati, R. (1995). Does familiarity breed trust? The implications of repeated ties for contractual choice in alliances. Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), 85–113.

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Hamel, G. (1991). Competition for competence and inter-partner learning within international strategic alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 12(SI), 83–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harzing, A. (2011). Journal quality list (38th ed.). Unpublished ranking. www.harzing.com/jql.htm. Accessed 16 April 2012.

  • Hennart, J. (1982). A theory of multinational enterprise. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J. (1988). A transaction costs theory of equity joint ventures. Strategic Management Journal, 9(4), 361–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J. (1991). The transaction cost theory of joint ventures: An empirical study of Japanese subsidiaries in the United States. Management Science, 37(4), 483–497.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J.-F. (2010). Transaction cost theory and international business. Journal of Retailing, 86(3), 257–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J., & Park, Y. (1993). Greenfield vs. acquisition: The strategy of Japanese investors in the United States. Management Science, 39(9), 1054–1070.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J., & Park, Y. (1994). Location, governance, and strategic determinants of Japanese manufacturing investment in the United States. Strategic Management Journal, 15(6), 419–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennart, J., & Reddy, S. (1997). The choice between mergers/acquisitions and joint ventures: The case of Japanese investors in the United States. Strategic Management Journal, 18(1), 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hofer, K., Smejkal, A., Bilgin, F., & Wuehrer, G. (2010). Conference proceedings as a matter of bibliometric studies: The academy of international business 2006–2008. Scientometrics, 84(3), 845–862.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hymer, S. (1976). The international operations of national firms: A study of direct foreign investment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Inkpen, A., & Beamish, P. (1994). An analysis of twenty-five years of research in the Journal of International Business Studies. Journal of International Business Studies, 25(4), 703–713.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J. (1977). The internationalization process of the firm: A model of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitment. Journal of International Business Studies, 8(1), 22–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Killing, J. (1983). Strategies for joint venture success. New York: Praeger.

  • Kogut, B. (1988). Joint ventures: Theoretical and empirical perspectives. Strategic Management Journal, 9(4), 319–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kogut, B. (1989). The stability of joint ventures: Reciprocity and competitive rivalry. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 38(2), 183–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kogut, B. (1991). Joint ventures and the option to expand and acquire. Management Science, 37(1), 19–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kogut, B., & Singh, H. (1988). The effect of national culture on the choice of entry mode. Journal of International Business Studies, 19(3), 411–432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1992). Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organization Science, 3(3), 383–397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1993). Knowledge of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the multinational corporation. Journal of International Business Studies, 24(4), 625–645.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liesch, P., Håkanson, L., Mcgaughey, S., Middleton, S., & Cretchley, J. (2011). The evolution of the international business field: A scientometric investigation of articles published in its premier journal. Scientometrics, 88(1), 17–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • MacMillan, I. (1991). The emerging forum for business policy scholars. Strategic Management Journal, 12(2), 161–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCain, K. (1983). The author cocitation structure of macroeconomics. Scientometrics, 5(5), 277–289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCain, K. (1990). Mapping authors in intellectual space: A technical overview. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 41(6), 433–443.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McManus, J. (1972). The theory of the international firm. In G. Paquet (Ed.), The multinational firm and the nation state. Toronto, ON: Collier MacMillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mizruchi, M., & Fein, L. (1999). The social construction of organizational knowledge: A study of the uses of coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphism. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(4), 653–683.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moed, H., Burger, W., Frankfort, J., & Van Raan, A. (1985). The use of bibliometric data for the measurement of university research performance. Research Policy, 14(3), 131–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morrison, A., & Inkpen, A. (1991). An analysis of significant contributions to the international business literature. Journal of International Business Studies, 22(1), 143–154.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nederhof, A., & Van Raan, A. (1993). A bibliometric analysis of six economics research groups: A comparison with peer review. Research Policy, 22(4), 353–368.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nelson, R., & Winter, S. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge: Belknap Harvard.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nerur, S., Rasheed, A., & Natarajan, V. (2008). The intellectual structure of the strategic management field: An author co-citation analysis. Strategic Management Journal, 29(3), 319–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newman, J., & Cooper, E. (1993). Determinants of academic recognition: The case of the Journal of Applied Psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(3), 518–526.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park, S., & Gordon, M. (1996). Publication records and tenure decisions in the field of strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 17(2), 109–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parkhe, A. (1993). Strategic alliance structuring: A game theoretic and transaction cost examination of interfirm cooperation. Academy of Management Journal, 36(4), 794–829.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peng, M. (2001). The resource-based view and international business. Journal of Management, 27(6), 803–829.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peng, M., & Zhou, J. (2006). Most cited articles and authors in global strategy research. Journal of International Management, 12(4), 490–508.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Penrose, E. (1959). The theory of the growth of the firm. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Phene, A., & Guisinger, S. (1998). The stature of the Journal of International Business Studies. Journal of International Business Studies, 29(3), 621–632.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pillania, R., & Fetscherin, M. (2009). The state of research on multinationals and emerging markets. Multinational Business Review, 17(2), 5–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Podsakoff, P., Mackenzie, S., Bachrach, D., & Podsakoff, N. (2005). The influence of management journals in the 1980s and 1990s. Strategic Management Journal, 26(5), 473–488.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ponzi, L. (2002). The intellectual structure and interdisciplinary breadth of knowledge management: A bibliometric study of its early stage of development. Scientometrics, 55(2), 259–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Porter, M. (1986). Competition in global industries. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramos-Rodriguez, A., & Ruiz-Navarro, J. (2004). Changes in the intellectual structure of strategic management research: A bibliometric study of the Strategic Management Journal, 1980–2000. Strategic Management Journal, 25(10), 981–1004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Raut, T., Sahu, S., & Ganguly, S. (2008). Strategic Management Journal: A citations study. Annals of Library and Information Studies, 55(1), 69–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rugman, A. (1981). Inside the multinationals: The economics of internal markets. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rugman, A., & Nguyen, P. (2011). Fifty years of international business theory and beyond. Management International Review, 51(6), 755–786.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sandro-Alday, S. (2010). International Business thought: A 50 year footprint. Journal of International Management, 16(1), 16–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shafique, M. (2013). Thinking inside the box? Intellectual structure of the knowledge base of innovation research (1988–2008). Strategic Management Journal, 34, 62–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sircar, S., Nerur, S., & Mahapatra, R. (2001). Revolution or evolution? A comparison of object-oriented and structured systems development methods. MIS Quarterly, 25(4), 457–471.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Small, H. (1973). Co-citation in the scientific literature: A new measure of the relationship between two documents. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 24(4), 265–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stopford, J., & Wells, L. (1972) Managing the multinational enterprise: Organization of the firm and ownership of the subsidiaries. New York: Basic Books.

  • Tahai, A., & Meyer, M. (1999). A revealed preference study of management journals’ direct influences. Strategic Management Journal, 20(3), 279–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Teece, D. (1986). Transactions cost economics and the multinational enterprise: An assessment. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 7(1), 21–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Treviño, L., Mixon, F., Funk, C., & Inkpen, A. (2010). A perspective on the state of the field: International business publications in the elite journals as a measure of institutional and faculty productivity. International Business Review, 19(4), 378–387.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Werner, S. (2002). Recent developments in international management research: A review of 20 top management journals. Journal of Management, 28(3), 277–305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, H., & Griffith, B. (1981). Author co-citation: A literature measure of intellectual structure. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 32(3), 163–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, H., & McCain, K. (1989). Bibliometrics. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 24, 119–186.

    Google Scholar 

  • White, H., & McCain, K. (1998). Visualizing a discipline: An author co-citation analysis of information science, 1972–1995. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 49(4), 327–355.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williamson, O. (1975). Markets and hierarchies, analysis and antitrust implications: A study in the economics of internal organization. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williamson, O. (1985). The economic institutions of capitalism: Firms, markets, relational contracting. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williamson, O. (1991). Comparative economic organization: The analysis of discrete structural alternatives. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(2), 269–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wuehrer, G., & Smejkal, A. (2013). The knowledge domain of the academy of international business studies 8AIB) conferences: A longitudinal scientometric perspective for the years 2006–2011. Scientometrics, 95, 541–561.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xu, S., Yalcinkaya, G., & Seggie, S. (2008). Prolific authors and institutions in leading international business journals. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 25(2), 189–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manuel Portugal Ferreira.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 4.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ferreira, M.P., Pinto, C.F. & Serra, F.R. The transaction costs theory in international business research: a bibliometric study over three decades. Scientometrics 98, 1899–1922 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-013-1172-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-013-1172-8

Keywords

Navigation