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Leadership in OM research: a social network analysis of European researchers

Ravi S. Behara (Department of Information Technology and Operations Management, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Sunil Babbar (Department of Information Technology and Operations Management, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Philip Andrew Smart (Department of Management, Business School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the leadership role of authors, institutions, and countries based on research co-authorship networks in the field of operations management (OM) and ranks European authors, institutions, and countries using network centrality measures. It also identifies the primary research areas of each of the leading European authors and maps the areas that European research in general has focussed most on.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on co-authorships in publications appearing in a representative set of three leading OM journals over the 15-year period of 1998-2012, network measures of total degree centrality and betweenness centrality are used to identify influential European agents serving as leaders and bridge builders in OM research. Keyword analysis is used to identify the dominant areas of OM research in Europe as well as the primary areas of research of the leading authors.

Findings

With UK, Spain, The Netherlands, and Italy accounting for the dominant share of authorship of papers in the journal set, many authors and institutions from these countries are also found to rank high on network centrality measures. While certain authors, institutions, and countries are found ranking high on total degree centrality based on number of direct connections in the network, others are found to play uniquely important roles as gatekeepers and bridge builders in network relationships. The body of research is found to be focussed most on the area of supply chain management. It is also found to be focussed more on manufacturing than service.

Research limitations/implications

The examination of networks in this study based on co-authorships in publications in the set of three leading journals: Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, and Production and Operations Management, is not all encompassing as there are likely other co-authorship relationships of OM researchers that go beyond publications in this set of journals.

Practical implications

Co-authorship of papers in the leading academic journals in a discipline provides a window on patterns of collaboration among key researchers within that academic community. The findings of this study inform the community of stakeholders on who the leading European agents in OM research are, what the primary areas of research of the leading European authors are, and areas that European research has focussed most on.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind that identifies and maps key European authors, institutions, and countries based on the analysis of co-authorship networks of researchers who have published in a set of leading OM journals that are considered to be among the most relevant outlets in the field of OM. It also maps the primary areas of research.

Keywords

Citation

S. Behara, R., Babbar, S. and Andrew Smart, P. (2014), "Leadership in OM research: a social network analysis of European researchers", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 34 No. 12, pp. 1537-1563. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-08-2013-0390

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited