The Case Study as Disciplinary Convention

  • Piekkari R
  • Welch C
  • Paavilainen E
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This article explores case study practices within a specific management discipline, that of international business. The authors contrast the case study debate in the general methodologi-cal literature to how this method is practiced within this particular scientific community. They review 135 case study–based articles published in four international business journals from 1995 to 2005 and 22 from 1975 to 1994, finding the disciplinary convention in these journals to be exploratory, interview-based multiple case studies, drawing on positivistic assumptions and cross-sectional designs. Alternative perspectives on the case study that the authors identify in the methodological literature have had little impact on this field. Even the most commonly cited methodological literature is not consistently followed. Given these limitations of the disciplinary convention, the authors argue for greater methodological plur-alism in conducting case studies and provide suggestions for researchers seeking to adopt alternative case study traditions.

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  • Rebecca Piekkari

  • Catherine Welch

  • Eriikka Paavilainen

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