Moneyball of X



Moneyball, Data analytics, Data-driven culture, Performance management, Literature review


“Moneyball” (Lewis, 2003) is one of the most influential non-fictional books of the 21st century. It is a story of how a financially constrained baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, managed to turn around its fortunes and become competitive by exploiting an inefficient labor market with an extensive use of data analytics. Moneyball has had a great influence on how professional sports teams conduct their operations these days, it has spread from professional sports to several other realms, and its hypothesis has been a subject of academic studies. In the areas of business and economics, Moneyball has become a profound slogan for a firm’s data-driven revolution and the resulting new ways of conducting business. However, Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball, accordingly thinks that the core message of Moneyball has been misinterpreted or misused to some extent (Dubner, 2022). It seems that adopting such a context-specific framework to other realms is neither easy nor simple, as the business logics and extra-organizational contingencies are different. The objective of this study is to better understand how Moneyball has been applied and discussed within academic research literature. This is done by systematically reviewing the Moneyball related literature that has been published in academic journals from 2003 to 2022. For both academic and managerial audiences, this study points out that sustained competitive advantage does not sprout from knowledge resources that are commonly available in the market. This study also serves as a reminder that a contemporary business and management buzzwords, such as Moneyball, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, may become elusive and misleading and the related research evidence scattered, if the academic research community cannot find ways to agree upon the definitions of the key concepts.

Author Biography

Harri Laihonen, University of Eastern Finland

Professor, Health and Social Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, Department of Health and Social Management