Evolution of co-citation - intellectual structure in strategy research: an extension of the work by ramos-rodriguez and ruiz-navarro (2004)

Simone Silva Vicente, Diego Nogueira Rafael, Nairana Radtke Caneppele Bussler, José Joaquim Filho, Rodrigo Lopes Nabarreto


Objective of the study: In this study we aim to analyze the evolution of the discipline Strategy published on the scholarly periodical Strategic Management Journal in the period from 2007 to 2018, covering a period of 12 years of publications in the field.

Methodology / approach: Through a bibliometric co-citation study, we analyzed two periods, from 2007 to 2012 and from 2013 to 2018. As a proxy, we used “Strategic Management Journal” in the Web of Science database. This research generated a sample of 1100 articles. The sample was analyzed with the software Bibexcel and submitted to factor analysis in SPSS software to identify the factors. To present the networks, we used the software Ucinet.

Originality / Relevance: Strategy studies are the focus of researchers who aim to identify how the theoretical field behaves. Identify the intellectual structure of research in strategy is relevant to new publications, and with greater concern afterwards the work by Ramos-Rodrigues and Ruiz-Navarro (2004). The multidisciplinary of Strategy was cited in previous studies, with evidence of the discipline in new fields of studies, such as in behavioral theories in strategy (Fernandes Pinto, Guerrazzi, Serra & Kniess, 2016 and Ferreira; Fernandes & Ratten, 2016). Thus, we sought to carry out a new research, in different and successive periods, which allow a validation of new reflections and perspectives regarding strategy in new fields of studies. In fact, we confirmed, with the results, the emergence of behavioral theories.

Main results: We identified four factors in the publishing from 2007 to 2012 period, with 36 articles, and two factors in the period from 2013to 2018, with 30 articles. The results allowed us to observe that Resource-based Theory (RBT) is still one of the most explored theories, in the first period, which is confirmed by previous studies. Regarding the second period, we verified the most evident movement in behavioral theories, with works in the fields of learning, knowledge and innovation (Fernandes Pinto, Guerrazzi, Serra & Kniess, 2016; Ferreira, Fernandes & Ratten, 2016).

Theoretical / methodological contributions: This study allows researchers to methodologically analyze the steps of a bibliometric co-citation study, including in this process the ways to analyze factors and make comparisons in two different publication periods. Supporting the theory, the results show the development of the theoretical field of Strategy and its evolution since the work by Ramos-Rodrigues and Ruiz-Navarro (2004). This is a contribution that expands the multidisciplinarity of the discipline and new existing relationships. We confirm the evidence from previous bibliometric studies that reported the growth of behavioral theories in strategy, such as learning, knowledge and innovation (Serra, Ferreira & Almeida, 2015; Fernandes Pinto, Guerrazzi, Serra & Kniess, 2016).

Social / management contributions: The emergence of new studies in behavioral strategy is the most relevant contribution. Managers can make better business decisions by looking more closely at the behavioral line theory. Decision-making may consider broader and organizational issues, or strategic points that involve behavioral analysis, on specific strategic resources.


Strategy; Strategic management journal; Bibliometric study.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5585/riae.v19i1.16533


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