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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 22: International Research Teams and Collective Case Studies: An Abductive Approach

Asta Salmi


Asta Salmi INTRODUCTION International research collaboration is widely advocated as a way of conducting research in the area of international business. It is often regarded as a ‘quick fix’ to the problem of accessing local data and contextual knowledge. Yet few scholars discuss their experiences of international teams in conducting case studies or ponder how teamwork is suited to case analysis. But these issues are worth raising, as there are no guidelines for conducting case studies collectively, let alone across borders. The iterative nature of a case study may well contradict the coordination needs of teamwork, meaning that case teams may not make use of all the potential opportunities for cooperation. The aim of this chapter is to reflect on the implications of having an international team as opposed to a single investigator carry out and analyse a case study. My key argument here is that the diversified resources of an international team ought to be used not only to reach different international contexts, but even more importantly to conduct case analysis that is culturally and contextually sensitive. In particular, I shall refer to the ‘abductive’ approach to case studies. This approach builds on the inevitable interaction of theory and method, and on the back-andforth character of the research process (Ragin 1992; Van Maanen et al. 2007), thus acknowledging an evolving framework and an evolving case (Dubois and Gadde 2002). This (alternative) view to case studies has been gaining momentum in management studies (Dubois and Gibbert 2010) and presents new...

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