Academic journal article Multinational Business Review

A Bibliometric Study on Ghoshal's Managing across Borders

Academic journal article Multinational Business Review

A Bibliometric Study on Ghoshal's Managing across Borders

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

As a discipline progresses through the contribution of researchers who put forward novel theories and concepts, it becomes common for scholars to examine the state of the art of the literature, doing reviews of the literature and seeking to understand the impact that specific contributions have made on the discipline. The use of some form of bibliometric technique in doing a review of the literature permits the understanding of potential patterns and, arguably, the evolution of a stream of research or topic. This is possible by specifically analyzing the extant research by a large number of authors on a given topic. As in [58] Ramos-Rodriguez and Ruiz-Navarro (2004), this paper starts from the hypothesis that the references utilized in a research article are an indication of their impact on the literature, and that by examining citations and co-citations, a clearer grasp of the interlinkages among scholars, concepts, and theories is gained. That is, an image of the intellectual structure of a research topic is, at least in part, able to be built. This paper focuses on a specific work by a notable international business/strategy scholar: Sumantra Ghoshal.

Sumantra Ghoshal (1948-2004) was a prominent academic in the field of management, specifically focusing his work on the discipline of strategic management and international business. During his academic career, Ghoshal looked into a variety of issues related to the strategies firms employ in their foreign operations, with the primary concerns of unbundling how multinational corporations (MNCs) should organize internally the relations among subsidiaries and between the subsidiaries and the headquarters. The chief focus was on how to compete more successfully and better exploit the potential advantages that MNCs had access to, in particular those advantages that may emerge from location in disparate geographic and technological spaces. This emphasis may be detected in a large portion of his work, which includes 12 books, about 70 papers, and several case studies. In all this work, the continuous search for useful and relevant research is visible ([31] Ghoshal and Moran, 1996; [29] Ghoshal, 2005), research that connects theory with the practice of managers and MNCs ([12], [13] Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1994, 1995). His 1989 book co-authored with Harvard Business School Professor Christopher Bartlett, Managing across Borders: The Transnational Solution , has been considered one of the top 50 most influential management books.

This paper examines specifically the work of Ghoshal, much of it in co-authorship with Bartlett and other colleagues, on subsidiaries and MNCs. Ghoshal's contribution is mainly, albeit not exclusively, identifiable to the international business discipline, arguably in the subfield of strategic management, with a clear emphasis on the issues pertaining to MNCs. This bibliometric study concentrates on the leading international business journal - Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS ). The study examines the entire track record of papers published in JIBS during the period from 1989 to 2010. The objective of this bibliometric study is not to generate new theory, but rather to scrutinize the contribution of a notable author and scholar to the discipline and research direction over the past 20 years. Ghoshal's work undeniably has had an impact on firms' strategies and on the practice of managers, and it is commonly used in undergraduate and graduate business courses.

This paper is organized in four main parts. First, Ghoshal's contribution to the study of MNCs and subsidiaries is briefly reviewed. Second, the method used, sample, and procedure are explained. Third, results are presented. The paper concludes with a broad discussion.

2 Ghoshal's work

Ghoshal's studies, while numerous, follow a rather unified stream of research, comprising topics that are chiefly interconnected. Table I [Figure omitted. …

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