To read this content please select one of the options below:

35 years of grey system theory in economics and education

Camelia Delcea (Department of Economic Informatics and Cybernetics, Bucharest University of Economics, Bucharest, Romania)
Saad Ahmed Javed (School of Business, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)
Margareta-Stela Florescu (Department of Administration and Public Management, Bucharest University of Economics, Bucharest, Romania)
Corina Ioanas (Department of Accounting, Bucharest University of Economics, Bucharest, Romania)
Liviu-Adrian Cotfas (Department of Economic Informatics and Cybernetics, Bucharest University of Economics, Bucharest, Romania)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 23 October 2023




The Grey System Theory (GST) is an emerging area of research within artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 1982, it has seen a lot of multidisciplinary applications. In just a short period, it has garnered some considerable strengths. Based on the 1987–2021 data collected from the Web of Science (WoS), the current study reports the advancement of the GST.


Research papers utilizing the GST in the fields of economics and education were retrieved from the Web of Science (WoS) platform using a set of predetermined keywords. In the final stage of the process, the papers that underwent analysis were manually chosen, with selection criteria based on the information presented in the titles and abstracts.


The study identifies prominent authors, institutions, publications and journals closely associated with the subject. In terms of authors, two major clusters are identified around Liu SF and Wang ZX, while the institution with the highest number of publications is Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Moreover, significant keywords, trends and research directions have been extracted and analyzed. Additionally, the study highlights the regions where the theory holds substantial influence.

Research limitations/implications

The study is subject to certain limitations stemming from factors such as the language employed in the chosen literature, the papers included within the Web of Science (WoS) database, the designation of works categorized as “articles” in the database, the specific selection of keywords and keyword combinations, and the meticulous manual process employed for paper selection. While the manual selection process itself is not inherently limiting, it demands a greater investment of time and meticulous attention, contributing to the overall limitations of the study.

Practical implications

The significance of the study extends not only to scholars and practitioners but also to readers who observe the development of emerging scientific disciplines.


The analysis of trends revealed a growing emphasis on the application of GST in diverse domains, including supply chain management, manufacturing and economic development. Notably, the emergence of COVID-19 as a new research focal point among GST scholars is evident. The heightened interest in COVID-19 can be attributed to its global impact across various academic disciplines. However, it is improbable that this interest will persist in the long term, as the pandemic is gradually brought under control.



The work is supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNFIS, project number FDI-2023-F-0499. The work is also supported in part by the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (No. 21KJB480011). For further details about the Grey System Theory, can be visited.


Delcea, C., Javed, S.A., Florescu, M.-S., Ioanas, C. and Cotfas, L.-A. (2023), "35 years of grey system theory in economics and education", Kybernetes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles