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Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 36: Case Study Research in Business-to-Business Contexts: Theory and Methods
36 Case study research in business-to-business contexts: theory and methods Arch G. Woodside and Roger Baxter Case study research (CSR) focuses on describing, understanding, predicting and/or controlling for the individual process, animal, person, household, organization, group, industry, culture or nationality (Woodside 2010). This definition is intentionally broader than the definition that Yin (1994, p. 13) proposes: ‘A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident’. Yet for any given study, focusing the research issues, theory and/or empirical inquiry on the individual constitutes the central feature of CSR. As Skinner notes (1966, p. 21), ‘instead of studying a thousand rats for one hour each, or a hundred rats for ten hours each, the investigator is likely to study one rat for a thousand hours’. This view is not intended to imply that CSR is limited to a sample of n 5 1. Reports of multiple case studies are widely available in organization science, especially in B2B contexts (e.g. Nutt 1984, 1993). In marketing literature, Howard and Morgenroth (1968) illustrate how to transform the research context in one supply chain from n 5 1 to n . 30 by examining alternative thought/action routes taken in separate, but seemingly similar, decisions. Without using the term, Howard and Morgenroth (1968) create an ‘ethnographic decision tree model’ (Gladwin 1989) that includes five principal parties in a corporate context: a senior decision-maker, a regional manager, a local...
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