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Journal cover: Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Online from: 1986

Subject Area: Marketing

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Case study research methods for theory building


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Title:Case study research methods for theory building
Author(s):Arch G. Woodside, (Professor of Marketing, Boston College, Carroll School of Management, Chestnut Hill, Boston, Massachussetts, USA), Elizabeth J. Wilson, (Associate Professor of Marketing, Sawyer School of Management, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachussettts, USA)
Citation:Arch G. Woodside, Elizabeth J. Wilson, (2003) "Case study research methods for theory building", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 18 Iss: 6/7, pp.493 - 508
Keywords:Case studies, Logic, Organizational behaviour, Research methods, Sampling theory
Article type:General review
DOI:10.1108/08858620310492374 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:This article provides a new definition for case study research. Achieving deep understanding of processes and other concept variables (e.g. actors’ perceptions of their own thinking processes, intentions and contextual influences) is identified as the principal objective of case study research. Using multiple methods to “triangulate” (i.e. confirm and deepen understanding by using multiple sources all focusing on the same process/event) within the same case is described. The article outlines the core criticisms made by case study researchers of large sample surveys. A need exists for a paradigm shift in research on organizational behavior (including modeling the antecedents of new product performance). The article outlines the telling weaknesses of case study research as seen by other researchers. The article examines Senge’s core propositions related to the “mental models” of decision participants. Details illustrate the use of specific research methods for case studies to achieve different research objectives and the combination of objectives. Finally, the article illustrates basic concept variables in a case study and 12 propositions are reviewed briefly. This report reviews classic and recent contributions in the literature on case study research.



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