The Diffusion Network of Research Knowledge in Operations Management

Alan Pilkington, Jack R. Meredith

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how the research knowledge in OM has been obtained and distributed since the first journals in OM began publication in 1980, changes in the interests of OM over the decades and where they are heading in the future; and to explore the changing roles of individual journals in the development of OM.
Design/methodology/approach: A two-stage bibliometric study was employed, first using citation analysis to examine the changing research interests in OM through an analysis of the OM journals. Then the top journals of most importance to OM were analyzed to determine the role that each one played in the knowledge distribution network and how that changed over the decades.
Findings: OM’s journal base consists of 7 research knowledge sources, 12 transmitters linking different journal groups, and 11 sinks with limited input. Research attention changed from practice, engineering, and OR to general management, strategy, and production management in the 2000s, with strategy, organizational issues, and logistics surfacing in the 2010s. OM features increasingly academic research with less interest in practice. OM journals’ network importance has increased substantially, with JOM now a bridge between the quantitative and management journals.
Practical implications: Both researchers and managers gain in understanding the history and identifying the future direction of OM, as well as which journals will have the most relevant papers to their interests.
This research identifies the history of the OM field in terms of its constituents and where it is going in the future. This history is related to the role OM plays among the knowledge network of top journals and presents a novel way of classifying and labeling journals based on their contribution.c
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Citations
  • References
  • Journal network
  • knowledge diffusion
  • Source journals

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