Ascension and decline of successful companies: a bibliometric study on the Icarus paradox

Marcio Augusto Lassance Cunha Filho, Eliane Herrero, Claudia Cristina Martins de Mello, Douglas Vidal


Objective: Our main objective was to examine the extension of published articles that cite Danny Miller’s (1990) book, The Icarus Paradox, and to identify the current research fronts that use the book as a reference.

Methodology/approach: This is a bibliometric study with the technique of bibliographic coupling.

Originality / Relevance: The identification and understanding of the phenomena that can potentially lead some successful companies to failure are relevant issues for research on the social sciences areas, especially in the field of organizational strategy.

Main results: We identified five factors that encompass the main articles that refer to Miller’s (1990) book. The themes transformational leadership and environment, competitive advantages, resources, processes of change and perception of opportunities represent the main currents of research that consider and refer to the findings of Danny Miller. These factors regard the research of organizational strategies for the preservation of competitive advantage, with identification of problems that can lead companies to failure.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: In our study, there is a practical and detailed guideline for bibliometric studies with analysis of citations and coupling, using the Exploratory Factor Analysis. Still, we hope that the description of the factors may guide future researchers through the identification of the research trends on the themes addressed.

Social/management contributions: Identifying and understanding the phenomena that may lead some successful firms to decline are relevant issues to managers and organizational leaders who can, in recognizing loss of competitive advantage factors, build other strategies for action.


Danny Miller; The Icarus Paradox; Business Decline; Bibliometric Study.


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