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The evolution of the international business field: a scientometric investigation of articles published in its premier journal

Liesch, Peter and Hakanson, L. and McGaughey, Sara and Middleton, S. and Cretchley, J. (2011) The evolution of the international business field: a scientometric investigation of articles published in its premier journal. Scientometrics, 88 (1). pp. 17-42.

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Abstract

Macro-environmental trends such as technological changes, declining trade and investment barriers, and globalizing forces impacting both markets and production worldwide point to the heightened importance of international business (IB) and the relevance of IB research today. Despite this, a leading scholar has expressed concerns that the IB research agenda could be 'running out of steam' (Buckley, Journal of International Business Studies 33(2):365-373, 2002), prompting on-going introspection within the IB field. We contribute to this debate by investigating the evolution of the IB field through a scientometric examination of articles published in its premier journal, the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS) from 1970 until 2008. We introduce a new analytical tool, Leximancer, to the fields of international business and scientometry. We show an evolution from an initial and extended emphasis on macro-environmental issues to a more recent focus on micro-economic, firm-level ones with the multinational enterprise (MNE) as an organizational form enduring throughout the entire period. We observe a field that has established a justifiable claim for relevance, participating actively in the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas.