Open Access

Ethics programs in business and management literature: Bibliometric analysis of performance, content, and trends


Research regarding ethics programs represents an important segment of business ethics literature. In the last thirty years, scientific discourse on ethics programs has flourished. Numerous studies examined their functions, composition, application in organizational practice, and impact on employee ethical behavior and many other organizational variables. However, so far there has been no study that would comprehensively map this particular field. Given that, this paper aims to examine discourse on ethics programs in its complexity within business and management literature. Based on a sophistically composed search protocol in the Scopus database, and after multiple rounds of checks, we extracted a final sample of 287 documents that matched the selection criteria. The sample was thoroughly analyzed by means of advanced bibliometric analytics tools. The results show the quantitative impact of ethics program literature via publication and citation metrics, a network of co-occurring themes and clusters of scientific inquiry, and the evolution of respective discourse over time. This detailed analysis results in a set of conclusions provided in the last part of the paper summarizing the quantitative performance and thematic scope of literature on ethics programs.