Thinking inside the box? Intellectual structure of the knowledge base of innovation research (1988–2008)


Muhammad Shafique, United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), Keizer Karelplein 19, 6211 TC, Maastricht, the Netherlands. E-mail:


Innovation is becoming increasingly popular as a concept as well as a field of research. As a field, it has accumulated a significant amount of scientific knowledge. Based on bibliometric data from four major social science disciplines—economics, sociology, psychology, and management—this study presents a ‘global view’ of the field by combining longitudinal and structural perspectives. It identifies major research traditions in the field, determines the content and disciplinary composition of each tradition, and maps the changes in the intellectual structure of the field over time. The study suggests that innovation research is becoming increasingly compartmentalized between economics and management disciplines and each segment is becoming increasingly self-contained. A strategy along with a framework is suggested for making research contribution to the field. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.