Edited by Mélanie E. Hassett and Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki
Chapter 9: Challenges of longitudinal field research in process studies on business networks
The book at hand aims to shed light on longitudinal research methods in studies of organizations. The field of organization research takes in a wide variety of settings and the longitudinal methods comprise a broad range of both qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches. The organizational research setting, with its disciplinary context, paradigms and features of the phenomenon, inevitably shapes the methods of data collection and analysis (Piekkari et al. 2009). Therefore, the longitudinal research methods applied in different organizational settings are likely to differ from each other. This chapter focuses on one type of qualitative longitudinal methodology, namely process research, and describes the challenges its application entails in the specific setting of inter organizational business networks. Business network research is about companies and other organizations that interact with each other for the purpose of conducting business. The business network is not delimited to seller and buyer companies alone but includes also institutional and other kinds of actors involved in business exchange (Anderson et al. 1994; Axels son and Easton 1992). The connectedness of many (in principle) independent actors in a business network creates a specific organizational research setting.
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