Mapping the conceptual structure of environmental management: a co-word analysis


This paper contributes to a better understanding of the research on environmental management using bibliometric methods to supplement the subjective evaluation of literature reviews. Focusing on the Management and Business fields, our main objective is to analyse the knowledge structure of environmental management literature and the evolution of related topics. We apply the co-word analysis method to identify different topics treated by the field across the studied periods, and to create networks and sub-networks. The results show the main topics and their evolution. We identify and explain six topics: green/environmental, resource-based-view, management, performance, corporate social responsibility and quality management. Development in this line of research shows progress in this discipline that commences with the green or environmental dimension and its effects on results and continues with issues that are more focused on quality management and corporate social responsibility. This study can be used as a reference for future research and help to increase company awareness of the importance of environmental issues in the design and implementation of strategies.

Keyword : environmental management, environmental strategy, green environment, corporate social responsibility, co-word analysis, bibliometric analysis

How to Cite
Nájera-Sánchez, J.-, J., Mora-Valentín, E.-, M., Ortiz-de-Urbina-Criado, M., & Moura-Díez, P. (2019). Mapping the conceptual structure of environmental management: a co-word analysis. Business: Theory and Practice, 20, 69-80.
Published in Issue
Feb 12, 2019
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Albertini E (2013) Does environmental management improve financial performance? A meta-analytical review. Organization & Environment 26(4): 431–457.

Ambec S, Lanoie P (2008) Does it pay to be green? A systematic overview. The Academy of Management Perspectives 22(4): 45–62.

Aragón-Correa JA, Sharma S (2003) A contingent resource-based view of proactive corporate environmental strategy. The Academy of Management Review 28(1): 71–88.

Banerjee SB (2001) Managerial perceptions of corporate environmentalism: interpretations from industry and strategic implications for organizations. Journal of Management Studies 38(4): 489–513.

Bansal P, Gao J (2006) Building the future by looking to the past examining research published on organizations and environment. Organization & Environment 19(4): 458–478.

Bansal P, Song H (2016) Similar but not the same: differentiating corporate responsibility from sustainability. Academy of Management Annals 11(1): 105–149.

Berchicci L, King A (2007) Postcards from the edge: a review of the business and environment literature. Academy of Management Annals 1(1): 513–547.

Biscotti AM, D’Amico E, Monge F (2018) Do environmental management systems affect the knowledge management process? The impact on the learning evolution and the relevance of organisational context. Journal of Knowledge Management 22(3): 603–620.

Brulhart F, Gherra S, Marais M (2017) Are environmental strategies profitable for companies? The key role of natural competences from a resource-based view. Management Decision 55(10): 2126–2148.

Buysse K, Verbeke A (2003) Proactive environmental strategies: a stakeholder management perspective. Strategic Management Journal 24(5): 453–470.

Callon M, Courtial JP, Laville F (1991) Co-word analysis as a tool for describing the network of interactions between basic and technological research: the case of polymer chemistry. Scientometrics 22(1): 155–205.

Carroll AB (1979) A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review 4(4): 497–505.

Choi J, Yi S, Lee KC (2011) Analysis of keyword networks in MIS research and implications for predicting knowledge evolution. Information & Management 48(8): 371–381.

Ciccullo F, Pero M, Caridi M, Gosling J, Purvis L (2018) Integrating the environmental and social sustainability pillars into the lean and agile supply chain management paradigms: a literature review and future research directions. Journal of Cleaner Production 172(20): 2336–2350.

Cobo MJ, López-Herrera AG, Herrera-Viedma E, Herrera F (2011) An approach for detecting, quantifying, and visualizing the evolution of a research field: a practical application to the Fuzzy Sets Theory field. Journal of Informetrics 5(1): 146–166.

Cobo MJ, Martínez MA, Gutiérrez-Salcedo M, Fujita H, Herrera-Viedma E (2015) 25 years at knowledge-based systems: a bibliometric analysis. Knowledge-Based Systems 80: 3–13.

Coulter N, Monarch I, Konda S (1998) Software engineering as seen through its research literature: a study in co-word analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 49(13): 1206–1223.<1206::AID-ASI7>3.0.CO;2-F

Darnall N, Henriques I, Sadorsky P (2010) Adopting proactive environmental strategy: the influence of stakeholders and firm size. Journal of Management Studies 47(6): 1072–1094.

Delmas M, Montes-Sancho M (2011) An institutional perspective on the diffusion of international management system standards: the case of the environmental management standard ISO 14001. Business Ethics Quarterly 21(1): 103–132.

Egri CP, Pinfield LT (1996) Organizations and the biosphere: ecologies and environments. In: Clegg SR, Hardy C, Nordn WR (Eds) Managing organizations: current issues. London: Sage Publications.

Escrig-Olmedo E, Munoz-Torres MJ, Fernandez-Izquierdo MA, Rivera-Lirio JM (2017) Measuring corporate environmental performance: a methodology for sustainable development. Business Strategy and the Environment 26(2): 142–162.

Etzion D (2007) Research on organizations and the natural environment, 1992-present: a review. Journal of Management 33(4): 637–664.

Ferenhof HA, Vignochi L, Selig PM, Lezana AGR, Campos LMS (2014) Environmental management systems in small and medium-sized enterprises: an analysis and systematic review. Journal of Cleaner Production 74(1): 44–53.

Fineman S, Clarke K (1996) Green stakeholders: industry interpretations and response. Journal of Management Studies 33(6): 715–730.

Fortis Z, Maon F, Frooman J, Reiner G (2018) Unknown knowns and known unknowns: framing the role of organizational learning in corporate social responsibility development. International Journal of Management Reviews 20(2): 277–300.

Gessa-Perera A, García-Vivas S, González-Zamora MM (2016) Valuing environmental management practices through contingent valuation. A review of recent applications. International Journal of Sustainable Society 8(1): 22–53.

Gladwin TN (1993) The meaning of greening: a plea for organizational theory. In: Fischer K, Schot J (Eds) Environmental strategies for industry: international perspectives on research needs and policy implications. Washington DC: Island Press.

Guenther E, Endrikat J, Guenther TW (2016) Environmental management control systems: a conceptualization and a review of the empirical evidence. Journal of Cleaner Production 136(10): 147–171.

Hart SL (1995) A natural-resource-based view of the firm. Academy of Management Review 20(4): 986–1014.

Hart SL, Ahuja G (1996) Does it pay to be green? An empirical examination of the relationship between emission reduction and firm performance. Business Strategy and the Environment 5(1): 30–37.<30::AID-BSE38>3.0.CO;2-Q

Hartmann J, Vachon S (2018) Linking environmental management to environmental performance: the interactive role of industry context. Business Strategy and the Environment 27(3): 359–374.

He Q (1999) Knowledge discovery through co-word analysis. Library Trends 48(1): 133–159.

Henriques I, Sadorsky P (1999) The relationship between environmental commitment and managerial perceptions of stakeholder importance. Academy of Management Journal 42(1): 87–99.

Heras‐Saizarbitoria I, Boiral O (2013) ISO 9001 and ISO 14001: towards a research agenda on management system standards. International Journal of Management Reviews 15(1): 47–65.

Holt D (2011) Where are they now? Tracking the longitudinal evolution of environmental businesses from the 1990s. Business Strategy and the Environment 20(4): 238–250.

James P (1996) Total quality environmental management and human resource management. In: Wehrmeyer W (Ed) Greening people: human resources and environmental management. New York: Greenleaf Publishing.

Kostoff R, Eberhart H, Toothman D, Pellenbarg R (1997) Database tomography for technical intelligence: comparative roadmaps of the research impact assessment literature and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Scientometrics 40(1): 103–138.

Law J, Bauin S, Courtial J, Whittaker J (1988) Policy and the mapping of scientific change: a co-word analysis of research into environmental acidification. Scientometrics 14(3-4): 251–264.

Malviya RK, Kant R, Gupta AD (2018) Evaluation and selection of sustainable strategy for green supply chain management implementation. Business Strategy and the Environment 27(4): 475–502.

Martín-de Castro, G Amores-Salvado J, Navas-López JE (2016) Environmental management systems and firm performance: improving firm environmental policy through stakeholder engagement. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 23(4): 243–256.

Menguc B, Ozanne LK (2005) Challenges of the “green imperative”: a natural resource-based approach to the environmental orientation-business performance relationship. Journal of Business Research 58(4): 430–438.

Molina-Azorín JF, Claver-Cortés E, López-Gamero MD, Tarí JJ (2009a) Green management and financial performance: a literature review. Management Decision 47(7): 1080–1100.

Molina-Azorín JF, Tarí JJ, Claver-Cortés E, López-Gamero MD (2009b) Quality management, environmental management and firm performance: a review of empirical studies and issues of integration. International Journal of Management Reviews 11(2): 197–222.

Mukherjee B, Chandra B (2018) Conceptualizing green human resource management in predicting employees’ green intention and behaviour: a conceptual framework. Prabandhan: Indian Journal of Management 11(7): 36–48.

Murillo-Luna JL, Garcés-Ayerbe C, Rivera-Torres P (2008) Why do patterns of environmental response differ? A stakeholders’ pressure approach. Strategic Management Journal 29(11): 1225–1240.

Orlitzky M, Siegel DS, Waldman DA (2011) Strategic corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Business & Society 50(1): 6–27.

Ormazabal M, Rich E, Sarriegi JM, Viles E (2017) Environmental management evolution framework: maturity stages and causal loops. Organization & Environment 30(1): 27–50.

Orsato RJ (2006) Competitive environmental strategies: when does it pay to be green? California Management Review 48 (2): 127-143.

Porter ME, Van der Linde C (1995) Toward a new conception of the environment-competitiveness relationship. The Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(4): 97–118.

Renwick DW, Redman T, Maguire S (2013) Green human resource management: a review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews 15(1): 1–14.

Russo MV, Fouts PA (1997) A resource-based perspective on corporate environmental performance and profitability. Academy of Management Journal 40(3): 534–559.

Salim HK, Padfield R, Hansen SB, Mohamad SE, Yuzir A, Syayuti K, Tham MH, Papargyropoulou E (2018) Global trends in environmental management system and ISO14001 research. Journal of Cleaner Production 170(1): 645–653.

Sangle S (2010) Empirical analysis of determinants of adoption of proactive environmental strategies in India. Business Strategy and the Environment 19(1): 51–63.

Sarkis J, Zhu Q, Lai K (2011) An organizational theoretic review of green supply chain management literature. International Journal of Production Economics 130(1): 1–15.

Schaltegger S, Gibassier D, Zvezdov D (2013) Is environmental management accounting a discipline? A bibliometric literature review. Meditari Accountancy Research 21(1): 4–31.

Schwartz MS, Carroll AB (2008) Integrating and unifying competing and complementary frameworks. Business & Society 47(2): 148–186.

Sharma S (2002) Research in corporate sustainability: what really matters? In: Sharma S, Starik M (Eds) Research in corporate sustainability: the evolving theory and practice of organizations in the natural environment. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Sharma S, Vredenburg H (1998) Proactive corporate environmental strategy and the development of competitively valuable organizational capabilities. Strategic Management Journal 19(8): 729–753.;2-4

Shrivastava P (1995) The role of corporations in achieving ecological sustainability. Academy of Management Review 20(4): 936–960.

Shrivastava P, Hart S (1994) Greening organizations 2000. International Journal of Public Administration 17(3-4): 607–635.

Srivastava SK (2007) Green supply‐chain management: a state‐of‐the‐art literature review. International Journal of Management Reviews 9(1): 53–80.

Tariq S, Jan FA, Ahmad MS (2016) Green employee empowerment: a systematic literature review on state-of-art in green human resource management. Quality and Quantity 50(1): 237–269.

Throop G, Starik M, Rands GP (1993) Sustainable strategy in a greening world: integrating the natural environment into strategic management. In: Shrivastava P, Huff A, Dutton JE (Eds) Advances in strategic management (9). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Van Eck NJ, Waltman L (2009) How to normalize co-occurrence data? An analysis of some well-known similarity measures. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 60(8): 1635–1651.

Van Marrewijk M (2003) Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion. Journal of Business Ethics 44(2-3): 95–105.

Wehrmeyer W (1996) Greening people: human resources and environmental management. Sheffield, England: Greenleaf Publishing.

Wong CY, Wong CWY, Boon-itt S (2015) Integrating environmental management into supply chains: a systematic literature review and theoretical framework International. Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management 45(1-2): 43–68.

Zupic I, Čater T (2015) Bibliometrics methods in management and organizations. Organizational Research Methods 18(3): 429–472.