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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 15: Theorizing Process through Punctuated Longitudinal Case Study Research

Anna Soulsby and Ed Clark


Anna Soulsby and Ed Clark INTRODUCTION: PROCESS AND PROCESS RESEARCH The last 20 years have seen increasing interest in methodological strategies to address the challenge of working with and theorizing from process materials in order to understand how and why organizations grow, adapt, fail or otherwise undergo change. This concern reflects a ‘process turn’ that has spread through many areas of management research. Although process research is still conducted by only a minority of management scholars, its promotion up the theoretical and methodological agenda results from not only the incessant dynamic realities of globalization and competition but also dissatisfaction with the process credentials of multivariate techniques, demographic methods and other forms of quantitative model building (Mohr 1982; Van de Ven and Huber 1990; Parkhe 1993; Lawrence 1997). In order to understand what happens within a sequence of events as it unfolds over time, many organization and management researchers have therefore reoriented their attention towards ways of studying temporal organizational phenomena through a process lens (Pettigrew 1990; Van de Ven and Poole 1995; Langley, 1999; and Tsoukas and Chia 2002). In turn, this has begun to influence debates within the international business (IB) and international management (IM) literatures. For example, scholars have examined the internal dynamics of international strategic alliances (Yan and Gray 1994; Doz 1996; Ariño and de la Torre 1998) and the integration of acquisitions into multinational corporate frameworks (Vaara 2003; Kristensen and Zeitlin 2005; Bouquet and Birkinshaw 2008). The primary aims of process research are to reveal...

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