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Tracking the influence of the first special journal issue on 'Green Marketing': A citation network analysis

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This paper seeks to explore the impact of the " Contemporary Issues in Green Marketing" Special Issue of Journal of Marketing Management (Vol. 14/6, 1998), the first mainstream marketing journal special issue to be dedicated to the topic, and to track how the ideas within it have since spread and influenced the further development of sustainability marketing scholarship.


The paper briefly reviews the growing importance of environmental sustainability within marketing scholarship and practice, and previous attempts to understand the development of the field through bibliographic analysis. It then applies a novel citation network analysis methodology based on the "Citation Network Analyzer" program, by using the eight substantive papers from JMM (14/6, 1998) as the 'seed' papers for the analysis.


The results demonstrate the pattern of bibliographic linkages that have developed from the papers in the original special issue, and how particular clusters of knowledge have emerged based on key green and ethical marketing themes. It also provides evidence demonstrating the practical limitations of past bibliographic studies, and that mainstream marketing journals may be playing a limited role in the development of our understanding of the implications of marketing for sustainability (and vice versa) compared to contributions from books and journals based in economics and psychology.


The findings have implications for the development of sustainability marketing as an emerging marketing sub-discipline, and suggest that it may be hampered by constraints including conservatism and disciplinary rigidity within mainstream marketing journals, and inward-looking tendencies amongst marketing scholars.


The paper demonstrates the potential value of citation network analysis as a research tool for marketing scholars and how it can be used to develop 'maps' of emerging intellectual territories that improve our understanding of them and aids the development of future research agendas. The analysis should be of interest to any researchers interested in applying systematic bibliographic analysis methods in marketing, and to those interested in whether the discipline can facilitate the development of new knowledge to meet the challenge of sustainable development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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