Citations in the Organizational Sciences

Citations in the Organizational Sciences

We all know that citations are important for the credibility of scholarly work. But how important are they really, and exactly for what purpose are they used?

In a paper from 2007, published in Organizational Research Methods, David Partington and Mark Jenkins present a framework of citation usage derived from an inductive analysis. The primarily aim of the paper is to provide a framework that outlines the variety of reasons why authors cite the work of others, and how citation usage shifts as the structure of a particular article unfolds.

The paper is called “Deconstructing Scholarship: An Analysis of Research Methods Citations in the Organizational Sciences” and can be downloaded here. A free postprint version can be accessed here.


Understanding the variety of different ways in which citations contribute to scholarly writing is an important part of the tacit knowledge possessed by experienced researchers. There is, however, little published work to help novice researchers develop this aspect of their craft. In order to address this issue we present a framework of citation usage derived from inductive analysis of a selection of published papers, and emphasize its relevance for research methods topics. This framework provides a template for structuring citation usage in academic research and a useful developmental tool for novice researchers.

David Partington is a senior lecturer in project management at Cranfield School of Management, where he is director of management research programs. His current research interests include program management and the application of phenomenography to organizational issues.

Mark Jenkins is professor of business strategy and director of graduate programs at Cranfield School of Management. He is currently researching the role of knowledge and innovation in the development of Formula 1 motorsport.