Science Mapping of the Knowledge Base on Sustainable Leadership, 1990?2018

Philip Hallinger and Suparak Suriyankietkaew    


The rise of sustainable development as a field of applied research has been observed across a wide range of disciplines. Successful change towards sustainability in organizations and societies requires leadership to provide a vision, set direction, and motivate people to move towards new goals. Thus, sustainable leadership is emerging as a new domain of study within the field of management. This review of research employed science mapping tools to examine 952 Scopus-indexed documents explicitly concerned with sustainable leadership. The goals of the review were to document the size, growth trajectory, and geographic distribution of this literature, identify key journals, authors, and documents, analyze the intellectual structure of this knowledge base, and highlight emerging topics. The review documented a modest-sized knowledge base of recent vintage, concentrated in Western developed societies but global in scope. Six Schools of Thought were identified within this knowledge base, one of which—Sustainable Leadership—was singled out for attention. As the first bibliometric review of research on sustainable leadership, this review provides a reference for scholars entering this domain, as well as guidance with respect to high value frameworks, foci for future research, and practical implications.

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