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).

Chapter 3: Fifty Years of Case Research in International Business: The Power of Outliers and Black Swans

Yair Aharoni

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

Extract

Yair Aharoni INTRODUCTION I started my acquaintance with case studies at Harvard Business School: as part and parcel of the requirements of my doctoral research I wrote several dozen cases on firms considering investments in Israel. Since then, and additionally, I have written more than 150 cases. The home countries of the case firms were the United States, Europe and Israel. I have also used case research methods in numerous studies, for example on subsidiaries of multinationals and their relationships with headquarters. I am deeply convinced that – at least in some of my studies – I would not have understood many business phenomena, or the way decisions are made, had I used any other method. Case study enables the researcher to gain a holistic view of a certain phenomenon or series of events, such as cultural systems of action (Feagin et al. 1991) – the latter referring to sets of interrelated activities engaged in by the actors in a social situation. Of course, in other studies I used other research methods that were more appropriate. Thus, in a study of all MBA graduates or of all Israeli managers, I used a carefully designed questionnaire. When I was a doctoral student at Harvard Business School, MBA students took three classes a day and for each one of these classes they had to read a case study and prepare themselves for a heated discussion in class. Harvard strongly believed that generalizations reached from studies of individual cases are the best way to distil pearls...

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