Interest in using case studies and case research for theory development has exploded in recent years as is evident from the growth of special journal issues, books and professional development workshops around the world. This interest builds on long-established traditions within management science and international business for theory development based on in-depth case research methods.
Seminal works, among others, include the Growth of a Firm (Penrose,1960), Structure follows Strategy (Chandler, 1962), Politics of Organizational Decision-Making (Pettigrew, 1973), Dimensions of National Cultural Differences (Hofstede, 1980), Corporate Venturing within Multidivisionals (Burgelman,1983), Transnational Solutions (Bartlett & Ghoshal,1989), and Core Competencies (Prahalad & Hamel,1990). This rich tradition was further legitimised by recent scholars such as Yin (1984), Eisenhardt (1989) and Piekkari and Welsh (2011).
Efforts to generalise theoretical contributions beyond a particular cultural context have often resorted to the use of traditional quantitative statistical research methods. Such research has increased our understanding of key dimensions of culture, and of the ways in which cultures vary. However, quantitative research has typically been unable to explain the roots of cultural differences (“why” do they exist) or the best ways in which to handle them (“how” to operate effectively).
As such, fine grained research in the form of the case-based method is particularly suited to address such questions as its purpose is to “generate theory and/or contribute to extant theory” (Mills et al., 2010: xxxii). In spite of the long-standing debate on research methods, there is a lack of understanding of how case research can be used for building theory. In order to fill this gap, case scholars from North America and Europe have come together to co-edit this special issue.
We are particularly interested in conceptual and cross-cultural case-based research that makes a strong contribution to existing theory or establishes new theoretical foundations. Thus, we welcome papers and research cases that make strong contributions to theory development and/or deal with methodological issues embedded in this research process. We welcome junior and senior scholars engaged in such research to submit to this issue. Note that the issue will not include teaching cases or papers addressing research issues related to the development of teaching cases.
Submissions must include a strong methodology section with a detailed description of data sources and methodologies used in the research. Submissions which do not include a thorough methodology section will automatically be rejected.
Suitable topics include but are not limited to the following:
- Contributions may address cross-cultural phenomena. General contributions with theory development based on case methods and case study are also welcome.
- Contributions may address a balance between case description and theory development. The particular balance depends on the research project reported in the contribution. (Submissions with only methods, case description, or mere theory development will automatically be rejected)
- The causal argument should be apparent and should show the theoretical logic of the causal relationship between variables.
- Pluralistic approaches to theory building are welcome.
- Transparency of the case research procedure is a must. Contributions must address to what extent the same findings can be replicated by other researchers using the same procedure. Authors are, for example, encouraged to be reflective in their approach and analyse their own experiences.
- Contributions must also address to what extent the results are valid beyond the specific context within which the case study has been conducted, i.e. to what extend the findings can be generalised to other settings (Eisenhardt, 1989). Multiple paradigms for theorising are welcome.
- Contributions that use qualitative and/or quantitative methods as well as mixed- methods case studies are welcome, as are case studies with multiple data sources.
Submission deadline: 15 October, 2013 (extended)
Decisions to authors: 31 December, 2013