Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 66, Issue 8, pp 1370–1384

Identifying research fields within business and management: a journal cross-citation analysis

General Paper


A discipline such as business and management (B&M) is very broad and has many fields within it, ranging from fairly scientific ones such as management science or economics to softer ones such as information systems. There are at least three reasons why it is important to identify these sub-fields accurately. First, to give insight into the structure of the subject area and identify perhaps unrecognised commonalities; second, for the purpose of normalising citation data as it is well-known that citation rates vary significantly between different disciplines. And third, because journal rankings and lists tend to split their classifications into different subjects—for example, the Association of Business Schools list, which is a standard in the UK, has 22 different fields. Unfortunately, at the moment these are created in an ad-hoc manner with no underlying rigour. The purpose of this paper is to identify possible sub-fields in B&M rigorously based on actual citation patterns. We have examined 450 journals in B&M, which are included in the ISI Web of Science and analysed the cross-citation rates between them enabling us to generate sets of coherent and consistent sub-fields that minimise the extent to which journals appear in several categories. Implications and limitations of the analysis are discussed.


subject fields cross-citations business and management factor analysis 

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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