• Christoph Georgi Ph.D.,

    1. European Business School, Germany
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    • Christoph Georgi (Doctorate in Political Science, European Business School) is research fellow at the Supply Chain Management Institute SMI and project manager at the Automotive Institute for Management AIM, European Business School EBS, International University Schloss Reichartshausen, Germany. He is academic director of the M.Sc. in Automotive Management at EBS. His research interests include meta-research on logistics/supply chain management, the scientific character of logistics, and systems theory. As research assistant, he has worked on various academic projects concerned with the analysis and implementation of document logistics in the public and service sector.

  • Inga-Lena Darkow Ph.D.,

    1. European Business School, Germany
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    • Inga-Lena Darkow (Doctorate in Engineering, Technical University Berlin) is an Assistant Professor and Research Director for Logistics and Innovation at the Supply Chain Management Institute SMI, European Business School EBS, International University Schloss Reichartshausen, Germany. She is academic director of MBA programs at EBS. Her research interests include new service development in logistics and supply chain management, innovation management within the logistics industry as well as logistics and SCM in emerging markets.

  • Herbert Kotzab Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
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    • Herbert Kotzab (Doctorate in Social Sciences and Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria) is Professor at the Department of Operations Management at the Copenhagen Business School. His research focuses on SCM, logistics and marketing channels and has resulted in more than 230 publications including journal publications, books, chapters in books, conference proceedings and trade magazines.



Many logistics and supply chain management researchers have so far studied the nature of logistics and supply chain management research in terms of its domain and scope, its epistemological assumptions, and its evolution. However, the knowledge repository on which the scientific research community draws, that is, its intellectual foundation, has not yet been studied. Studying the intellectual foundation of research provides an unbiased and comprehensive picture of the development, dissemination, and utilization of its knowledge. In this article, we identify the most contributive works—in terms of citations received—that have been used in 497 articles published in the Journal of Business Logistics (JBL) between 1978 and 2007. By means of citation and co-citation analysis, the intellectual structure of research in JBL is revealed and transformations therein are explored. Overall, the most frequently-cited literature can be classified into six themes: physical distribution; inventory models; customer service; interorganizational relationships; competitive strategy; and empirical methodologies for socio-scientific research. Furthermore, we determined a development in citation frequencies to these themes: literature related to physical distribution and inventory management declined over the three decades under study, whereas literature related to competitive strategy and empirical methods gained in importance. This development indicates a shift from an operational focus to a prioritization of managerial issues. Moreover, our results demonstrate a shift towards more relational and institutional research in logistics (management), which has been typically linked with the notion of supply chain management since the 1990's.