<خوب> تحقیق در مورد بازاریابی صنعتی: بینش های تمرین پژوهش
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22880||2010||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8320 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 109–117
The purpose of this article is to contribute to the emerging debate about the use of the case methodology in industrial marketing. We conducted a content analysis of the 145 case studies published in three key journals (Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing) over a 10-year period (1997–2006). The findings highlight the dominance of case research in qualitative industrial marketing research. They also lead us to distinguish between three different practices that influence perceptions of ‘good’ case research in this scholarly domain: ‘common’ practice, ‘best practice’ and ‘innovative’ practice. Our contribution lies in problematising what ‘good’ case research is, and showing how research practice – not just methodological literature – has a role in generating methodological conventions in a disciplinary field.
The past twenty-five years have witnessed a growth in the methodological literature on case studies in business and management research. Alongside the two dominant authorities on case research in business studies – Eisenhardt, 1989 and Yin, 2003 – texts on qualitative research in the field of marketing have been published (e.g. Belk, 2006). However, the specific challenges associated with using case studies for industrial marketing topics such as business networks have until recently received less attention (Halinen & Törnroos, 2005). This is despite the fact that, according to Dubois and Araujo (2004, p. 207), the case study has been the ‘methodology of choice’ for qualitative researchers in this area. In this article, we seek to contribute to the emerging debate about applying the case ‘methodology’3 to the study of industrial marketing. Previous discussions have largely focused on the abstract question of ‘how research into industrial networks might be carried out’ ( Easton, 1995, p. 411, our italics). In contrast, we are primarily interested in the question of how the case study has actually been conducted, and compare this to current methodological recommendations about how it should be conducted. In this article, we therefore review the use of the case study approach in the key industrial marketing journals over a 10-year period (1997–2006) to uncover case study practices in the field. Reflecting current debates about qualitative research (for a review, see Seale, 1999), we believe that no single set of ‘best practices’ for case researchers prevails; rather, there are conflicting standards as to what constitutes ‘good’ case research. The approach we take in this article, of looking at research practice in a particular field of study, begs a number of questions. The first is why, given the existence of an already voluminous literature on doing case studies (for an overview, see e.g. Gomm, Hammersley, & Foster, 2000), it is necessary to add to it at all, and why conducting case studies in industrial marketing should be any different to conducting them in other areas. Industrial marketing researchers have argued that case research in this area is indeed different, because of the nature of the phenomenon under study. Halinen and Törnroos (2005), building upon the work of Easton (1995), argue that networks present researchers with a challenge since they do not constitute a closed, bounded and clearly delineated system. While we agree with Halinen and Törnroos's insights, we would go further and argue, following Platt (1988), that the disciplinary context to which case studies are applied matters in a more fundamental way: that perceptions of what a case and a case study are, as well as the procedures for undertaking such research, vary across disciplinary boundaries. While these variations are in part due to differences in what is beheld (for example, the organizational context of industrial marketing contrasted with the study of the individual in consumer behavior), they can also be traced to differences in the eye of the beholder. As the sociology of knowledge would suggest (for a discussion in the area of industrial marketing, see Morlacchi, Wilkinson, & Young 2005), disciplinary conventions, traditions and norms fundamentally shape our understanding of what we conceive case studies to be and which standards for case research we subscribe to. Another question raised by our approach is why we should consider research practice. Again, we follow Platt (1996), who points out that the methodological authorities with whom case researchers may be familiar, and even cite, are only one influence on how research is conducted. Perhaps a more substantial one is the empirical research that is published. Published case studies become the models and exemplars for future research, and in this way also shape conceptions of how research should be conducted. However, in her history of the case study in sociology, Platt (1996) found a divergence between the case research that was actually conducted as compared to the recommendations made in key methodological texts. It therefore cannot be assumed that methodological theory and research practice (i.e. ‘methodologies-in-use’, to borrow a term from Gummesson, 2003) will coincide. Notions of ‘good’ case study research are, in the end, shaped by what is actually published in a field. Once we conceive case research as a set of conventions constructed by a particular community of scholars, research practice can then be seen as generating and not just following methodological standards. By conducting a qualitative content analysis of published case studies, we seek to provide insights into how the case study has been constructed by the industrial marketing community and the methodological conventions that are upheld. Our focus is therefore on the authors' own understanding of the case study methodology. Our content analysis led us to induce three different notions of ‘good’ case study research in this scholarly domain: 1) ‘common’ practice (in other words, the most popular features of case study methodology as reported by authors, often coupled with limited methodological reporting); 2) ‘best practice’ (in other words, the standards that authors themselves profess, whether implicitly or explicitly, the methodological authorities they cite and, inevitably, the standards we too apply in our analysis); and 3) ‘innovative’ practice (in other words, uncommon or novel practice). The article is organized as follows. In the first section, we start our investigation into case study conventions by providing an analysis of ‘best practice’ recommendations advocated in the industrial marketing literature. While these have been heavily influenced by Yin (2003), we argue that his recommendations have increasingly been challenged by industrial marketing scholars. In the subsequent section, we discuss our process of reviewing published case studies, including the basis for journal selection, our classification of case studies and the codes we used for our content analysis. We then proceed to describe and analyze the practices that we found in our sample of 145 case studies. In particular, we identify three different practices in published case studies, which we have grouped under the categories of common practice, best practice and innovative practice. We conclude by arguing in favor of paradigm consistency, reflexivity and greater innovativeness in case research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this review, we have examined how case studies have been used in the three key industrial marketing journals over a 10-year period. While our review is limited in the sense of being a snapshot of 10 years and solely of published case studies, it has confirmed what has until now been the general assumption: that case studies are by far the most popular qualitative methodology in industrial marketing journals (although mixed and even quantitative case studies were also published in this period). Our focus in this article has been on how case studies are practised — or at least, how practice is reported in scientific journals, since we cannot know how they were actually conducted. To our knowledge this approach – of looking at how a method is actually used – has not previously been attempted in the area of industrial marketing. We would argue that our review has given us insight into what case researchers in this field mean by ‘case study’ and the best practices they associate with this methodology. In our dataset, we came across many references by authors to what they regarded as best practice. Our main finding here was that Yin was a strong influence, not just on the methodological literature in industrial marketing, but on research practice as well. This can be found in the pattern of citations, with Yin by far the most popular source, as well as the widespread use of some of his key recommendations, particularly purposeful sampling, triangulation and systematic data analysis. However, while Yin's impact was clearly discernible it was not overwhelming: consistent application and understanding of the linear model was not common practice. At the same time, alternatives to Yin that can be found in the methodological literature have to date had very little impact on research practice, judging from the pattern of citations. Thus, those authors who did try to adopt these alternative approaches were classified as innovative in their practices. Our analysis of the 145 published case studies therefore shows there is not a straightforward relationship between a research community's methodological standards and its methodologies-in-use. We found that common practice is not aligned with the recommendations presented in the methodological literature: it is ‘good enough’ to get published rather than ‘good’ practice. Common practice deviates in many ways from Yin's linear model (Table 1), yet at the same time it does not incorporate the alternative methodological recommendations made by industrial marketing scholars (e.g. Dubois and Gadde, 2002 and Easton, 1995). Nonetheless, since by definition common practice is widely adopted by case researchers, it has the potential to become the de facto standard that guides their methodological choices. This is of concern, given that one of the most common practices we found was the absence of methodological discussion. Even if a separate methodological section or paragraph was provided, it often lacked information about the sampling strategy, methods for data analysis and verification. We would also argue that even Yin's linear model is not widely understood by the industrial marketing research community, given that many authors did not provide, or reviewers seemingly demand, basic details about their research design. Moreover, authors struggled to explain how they had related theory to their empirical observations. Despite the fact that this is regarded as the strength of the approach, we, as a community of scholars, still have much to learn about how to theorize from case studies (see e.g. George & Bennett, 2004). At this point, it could be expected that we would recommend common practice to follow best practice more rigidly. However, the question then arises: whose best practice should be followed? As our review has shown, Yin is not the only possible standard to adopt, and his assumptions about case research have been questioned by industrial marketing scholars. As suggested by Bochner (2000, p. 269), qualitative researchers' views on good case research are ultimately tied to their epistemological and philosophical perspectives: ‘[Evaluation] criteria are social products created by human beings in the course of evolving a set of practices’. Recommending a single set of standards for case research would therefore entail dictating the philosophical approach to be followed. Thus, we would advise against constraining research in this way, especially given that the essence of the case study approach lies in its very flexibility. However, this should not be interpreted as ‘anything goes’ in case research. Rather, we are making an argument for paradigm consistency and reflexivity: case researchers need to consider whose notions of good case research they are following, and be consistent and transparent in making this decision. Paradigm consistency and reflexivity may assist case researchers to understand their findings (Johnson & Duberley, 2003), as well as identify strengths and weaknesses of their research (Deshpande, 1983). The lack of reflexivity we found may explain why the authors we reviewed rarely discussed the limitations of their work or elaborated on the transferability of their findings. While not all innovative practices were well done or of high quality, such articles stood out in terms of their authors being able to reflect on their data and devise research designs that were closely tailored to their key research questions. Overall, innovative practices were more likely to be true to the non-linear and ‘messy’ nature of much case research. The innovations in published case studies were perhaps the result of what Dawson (1997) terms the ‘tacit knowledge’ of case researchers; in other words, their sense, gained through immersion in the field, as to what is appropriate in that particular setting. We would conclude there is potential for greater improvisation in conducting case studies in industrial marketing. It is telling that the authors of the most innovative qualitative study we found in this period, Rinallo and Golfetto (2006), did not position their work as a case study but rather an ethnography, in order to avoid the positivist associations of this methodology (personal communication with Diego Rinallo, 21 April 2007). Innovative practices play a crucial role in terms of questioning existing conventions about ‘good’ case research and providing inspiration for methodological experimentation in the field. Our review is not just of the 145 case studies and the practices of their authors; rather, it provides insight into the industrial marketing research community more generally. Given that we are examining the results of a publication process that also involves peer reviewers and editors, we can argue that the research practices we have identified reflect that of the scholarly community as a whole. Common, best and innovative research practices all shape perceptions and conventions regarding ‘good’ case research within a disciplinary field. Our review has demonstrated the power of convention: that there can be a gulf between a research community's methodologies-in-use and its methodological literature. This gap suggests at least two possibilities for future research in industrial marketing: for researchers, there is scope to explore some of the alternative case study approaches suggested in the methodological literature; for methodologists, there is potential for making a contribution by reacting to the experiences and concerns of practising researchers.