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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).
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Chapter 1: Pluralism in International Business and International Management Research: Making the Case

Rebecca Piekkari and Catherine Welch


Rebecca Piekkari and Catherine Welch INTRODUCTION The purpose of the present volume is to bring together a variety of perspectives on the case study and enrich case study practices in international business (IB) and international management (IM) research. The case study is a key research strategy in the field but to date only a fairly narrow selection of possible case study approaches have been used (Piekkari et al. 2009). Researchers in IB and IM typically rely on a case study approach that could be characterized as ‘qualitative positivism’ (Prasad 2005, p. 4), and which is loosely derived from the guidelines set out by Eisenhardt (1989) or Yin (2009). This approach to the case study has become a ‘disciplinary convention’ that prevails even in situations when there would have been another, more appropriate way of ‘getting the case study right’. In this book, we position this convention in relation to its alternatives, offering a range of viable options for practising case researchers as well as guidance for those who evaluate case studies. The dominance of qualitative positivism is not a surprise, given the history of the case study in business and management research. A key milestone for the legitimization of the case study within business and management was the publication of Yin’s seminal text in 1984. Platt (1992) has observed that this legitimization occurred at the expense of some of the long-established assumptions, practices and aims associated with this research strategy. In particular, she notes that as a result of Yin’s...

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