Unveiling the intellectual structure and evolution of external resource management research: Insights from a bibliometric study
Journal article, 2019

In the current hyper-competitive economy, it is increasingly important to understand how firms can and should access and leverage external resources, such as customer knowledge or supply-chain partners’ capabilities. In this paper, we report the results of bibliometric analyses on external resource management (ERM) research in nine representative journals, and elaborate the underlying patterns and dynamics in this relatively young research area. A total of 1290 articles ranging from year 2000 to 2015 were analyzed with text-mining and visualization methods. We found that the annual number of ERM publications is steadily increasing, and identified and described four distinct research clusters focusing on integration & operational effectiveness, innovation & value creation, inter-organizational relationships, and knowledge transfer & learning. The identification of research clusters and key works and authors in this multidisciplinary research field can assist future research in better positioning their studies and finding the key references across disciplinary silos.

Bibliometric analysis

Intellectual structure


Cross-disciplinary research

External resource management



Bragge Johanna

Aalto University

Katri Kauppi

Aalto University

Ahola Tuomas

University of Tampere

Anna Aminoff

Hanken School of Economics

Riikka Kaipia

Aalto University

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Kari Tanskanen

Aalto University

Journal of Business Research

0148-2963 (ISSN)

Vol. 97 141-159

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Economic Geography

Business Administration



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