Mapping and Analysis of Exit Strategy Research: A Bibliometrics and Systematic Review

Document Type : Research Paper


1 university

2 Assistant Prof., Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 3. Associate Prof., Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

4 Tarbiat Modares University,



Purpose: Due to the importance of business exit strategy and the lack of sufficient attention to this research area, the primary purpose of this study is to combine research findings in the last 3 decades (1990-2022), give a big picture, and provide valuable insight into the research trends and recommendations for future research to cover the research gaps. Synthesizing past research findings is one of the most essential tasks for advancing a specific research area. Systematic literature reviews increasingly play a crucial role in synthesizing past research findings to utilize the existing knowledge base and provide research directions effectively.

Methodology: The integration of the systematic review method and bibliometric method with R programming has been used to identify and analyze the trends in business exit studies.

Findings: Examining the co-occurrence network of keywords shows that three networks were created each focusing on topics such as performance, asset sales, and survival, and they are the largest co-occurrence network respectively. In the review of co-citations, management publications have the most references to each other, and the next two clusters are financial management and economics publications, respectively. Four main trends of exit drivers, exit decision, exit mode, and exit consequences were identified in exit strategy research. Also, research in the field has been explained based on several theoretical perspectives such as agency theory, corporate governance, resource-based perspective theory, and dynamic capability.

Conclusion: Research on divestitures is still dominated by studies of exit drivers and their consequences. Strategy researchers examine and explain these two factors mainly based on agency theory, transaction cost economics (TCE), the resource-based view (RBV), and evolutionary theory. The existing research in the financial field is also mainly focused on the effect of the exit on the subsidiary's performance and the financial records of the parent company (after the exit), and the theory of interest of researchers in the field is agency theory. In the field of economics, researchers have investigated micro and macroeconomic factors such as concentration, growth, size and profitability of the industry, economies of scale, capital intensity, and sunk cost to explain the Barriers to entry and exit from the industry as well as drivers of business exit.

: The annual growth rate of articles is 7.43%, and as it can be seen, the years 2018-2019 were associated with the highest amount of publications, but still the amount of articles published in this field is less compared to the articles in the field of growth and entry strategies. The most effective publications in the field of exit strategy are Strategic Management Journal, Management Journal, Small Business Economy Journal, and Management Journal, which have published 34.5% of the articles. The authors' cooperation index is 2.12 and on average two authors contributed to the article. Also, 85% of the authors had only one research work.


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