Table of Contents

Rethinking the Case Study in International Business and Management Research

Rethinking the Case Study in International Business and Management Research

Edited by Rebecca Piekkari and Catherine Welch

This important and original book critically evaluates case study practices and calls for a more pluralistic future for case research in international business (IB) and international management (IM).


Jan-Erik Vahlne

Subjects: business and management, international business, research methods in business and management, research methods, qualitative research methods, research methods in business and management


In my childhood there was only one variety of sports shoe, whose sole was made of rubber and the upper part of cloth, either white or dark blue. This was used for all sports, from football to handball, both indoor and outdoor. Product development has led to differentiation so that there are now numerous varieties of shoes for – to take an example – jogging, depending on the track or the floor, the weight of the individual and the jogging style. Ultimately, a person can have individualized shoes adjusted to his or her specific needs. We are moving in a similar direction with regard to case study methodology, which is differentiated to fit the objective and the context of the research. When I started to do research, there was only one way of doing case studies and the only acceptable motivation for doing them was to ‘dig up’ issues on which to focus ‘serious’ research. This attitude, I believe, was based on a little-brother complex vis-à-vis the sciences – such as physics and chemistry – where large-scale data collection under strictly controlled circumstances allowed statistical analyses. That was research! We tried to imitate. Over time I think we have gradually dropped bits of that inferiority complex, realizing that the objects of study in business and management are quite different from those of the sciences, based as the latter are on ‘eternal laws’. However, I think we, as the collective of researchers in international business and management, still have some distance to travel before...