Most cited business ethics publications: mapping the intellectual structure of business ethics studies in 2001–2008



This study explores the research paradigms of contemporary business ethics research in 2001–2008. With citation data from the top two business ethics journals included in the Social Sciences Citation Index, this study conducts citation and co-citation analysis to identify the most important publications, scholars, and research themes in the business ethics area and then maps the intellectual structure of business ethics studies between 2001 and 2008. The results show that current business ethics studies cluster around four major research themes, including morality and social contract theory, ethical decision making, corporate social responsibility, and stakeholder theory. This study helps profile the invisible network of knowledge production in business ethics and provides important insights on current research paradigms of business ethics studies.