An intellectual structure of activity-based costing: a co-citation analysis

Kuo Hsiu-Kuei (Department of Transportation Technology and Management, National Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan)
Yang Chyan (Institute of Business and Management, National Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Publication date: 28 January 2014



The purpose of this paper is to show that by exploring the intellectual structure of activity-based costing (ABC) based on the citation database of Google Scholar, one can understand the evolution and core ideas of the ABC discipline.


This study employs the document co-citation method to model the intellectual structure of ABC between 1988 and 2008. After an initial co-citation analysis of the condition-limited literature set to find the relationships between core articles, this study further implements multivariate statistical techniques to construct representations for the ABC intellectual structure.


A total of four important subjects chronologically provide a panoramic view of the evolution of ABC. This study finds some dimensions of the results to be in accordance with prior research, but further achieves insights into the core ideas underpinning the ABC discipline. It demonstrates the validity of this study conducting a co-citation analysis based on the citation data of Google Scholar.

Research limitations/implications

The classification, core articles, and evolution of the ABC literature published in the past two decades benefit academic researchers conducting future studies that build systematically on prior research.

Practical implications

The intellectual structure of the ABC discipline explains and predicts the stages of ABC implementation's life cycle. For the accounting profession, this helps a consultant/practitioner in sub-fields of the ABC domain to quickly and easily enlarge the coverage and viewpoints or perspectives within his/her cluster of interest and to jointly consider the successful factors of implementing ABC in an organization.


The empirical feasibility of using digitally archival information to model an intellectual structure of ABC is attained; and the intellectual structure and its various representations provide researchers, consultants, and practitioners with a macroscopic and dynamic view of the ABC discipline.



Kuo, H. and Yang, C. (2014), "An intellectual structure of activity-based costing: a co-citation analysis", The Electronic Library, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 31-46.

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