Patterns of Research Productivity in the Business Ethics Literature: Insights from Analyses of Bibliometric Distributions [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 98 (1):137 - 151 (2011)
In any academic discipline, published articles in respective journals represent "production units" of scientific knowledge, and bibliometric distributions reflect the patterns in such outputs across authors or "producers." Closely following the analysis approach used for similar studies in the economics and finance literature, we present the first study to examine whether there exists an empirical regularity in the bibliometric patterns of research productivity in the business ethics literature. Our results present strong evidence that there indeed exists a distinct empirical regularity. It is the so-called Generalized Lotka's Law of scientific productivity pattern: the number of authors publishing ç papers is about Í /n c of those publishing one paper. We discuss the likely processes that underlie the productivity pattern postulated by the Generalized Lotka's Law. We find that the value of the exponent is equal to about 2.6 for the comprehensive bibliometric data across the two leading business ethics journals. The observed research productivity pattern in the business ethics area, a relatively young discipline, is interestingly very consistent with those found in much older, related business disciplines like economics, accounting, and finance. We discuss the general implications of our findings
Keywords bibliometric distributions  business ethics  cumulative advantage  empirical regularity  knowledge creation  Lotka’s Law  research productivity patterns
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