Academic journal article Multinational Business Review

Influential Research and Institutions in International Business Research

Academic journal article Multinational Business Review

Influential Research and Institutions in International Business Research

Article excerpt


We examine the citations from four international business (IB) journals over 2000-2004 to show the areas, the journals, and the institutions that impact IB research. The leading works that influence IB research are primarily management journals, scholarly books, and IB journals. IB research is published in non-IB journals, as well and this has influenced the recent research in IB journals. U.S. and non-U.S. academic institutions and non-academic organizations are among the top 100 institutions that impact IB research, indicating that this research is a truly global endeavor. Finally, recent IB research is influenced more by recent published research than by past research. Scholarly books have become less influential, while the economics, finance, and marketing journals show no change in the influence on IB research over time.


Is there a driving force behind international business (IB) research? What kind of research has most influenced such research in recent years? We follow Arnold, Butler, Crack, and Altintig (2003) who ask similar questions related to finance. These questions are important for IB scholars because this research is genuinely multidisciplinary and cross-functional. Identification of the core issues of IB research sheds light on the driving force behind IB research and its future direction. A related question is how IB programs across the globe are perceived. Kumar and Kundu (2004), Chan, Fung, and Lai (2005), Chan, Fung, and Leung (2006), and Xu, Yalcinkaya, and Seggie (2008) suggest that IB program rankings affect personnel decisions, resource allocation, and institutional reputation. These studies offer rankings of IB institutions that are based on publication records in selected IB journals.

Different authors rank IB schools and IB journals differently because they use different criteria and different time periods. Inkpen (2001) has expressed his concern about a "silo-effect" regarding ranking IB journals and IB programs on the basis of only IB journals. He argues that a discipline achieves legitimacy through cross-citation and overlapping application of theoretical foundations, concluding "the realities of globalization mean that research examining IB questions has never been more important and more necessary. A pecking order for IB journal quality is of limited usefulness" (196). Chan, Fung, and Lai (2005) produce an institutional ranking based on editorial board representation that only partially addresses Inkpen's concern. The challenge is to devise an evaluation scheme in IB program ranking that is both useful and reduces the impact of specific journals (or subjective judgment).

We have two objectives. First, we provide a list of research work that has exerted the most influence on IB research in recent years. This enables us to better understand the research cycle in the discipline. Werner and Brouthers (2002) demonstrate that IB research has become more global and pervasive in other areas in recent years, but they do not analyze feedback effects from other business functional areas. Our research fills that gap.

We update earlier studies by Morrison and Inkpen (1991), Chandy and Williams (1994), Inkpen and Beamish (1994), and Dubois and Reeb (2000) on the impacts on IB research. To do this, we examine all reference citations in articles published in Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), Journal of World Business (JWB; formally Columbia Journal of World Business), International Business Review (IBR), and Management International Review (MIR) during 2000-2004 to identify the most influential IB research. We choose these four IB journals for several reasons. First, while IB scholars may publish in other disciplinary journals, relying on publication data in strictly IB journals instead of functional journals (such as marketing or management journals) minimizes the subjective bias of classifying articles as IB-relevant. …

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