Doing Research In Business And Management Saunders Pdf

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Doing research in business and management: An essential guide to planning your project

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Mark N K Saunders. Bill Lee. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. Case Study Research in Business and Management. Accessed 28 October ] DOI These include: accounting; corporate governance; entrepreneurship; finance; human resource management; international business and international management; leadership; management and business history; marketing and retail; operations and logistics; organizational behaviour; public management and governance; and strategy.

Each of these disciplines has its own methodological predilections and as a corollary, a view of what constitutes a case study, where case studies should feature in a research project and the relative usefulness of case study research. Given this breadth of disciplines, only a provisional definition of a case study will be provided at this point; namely, a case study is research into a phenomenon, organization, process, or event that is studied as a unit of analysis that is interesting in its own right.

Rather than attempting to summarise all that has been written about case studies across the management disciplines, this entry will elaborate upon thinking around this definition using the metaphor of a kaleidoscope.

The aforementioned definition distinguishes a case study from survey research that views individual events, only as part of a broader population. This contrast with survey research is perceived by many as a serious weakness of case study research.

In focusing on discussions about the case study as a unit of analysis, the remainder of this entry first seeks to put parameters around this discussion by reporting other dimensions that are built into definitions of case studies in the business and management field, but which are not discussed here.

It then introduces the metaphor of a kaleidoscope to provide a schematic outline of the different ways in which business and management academics have suggested theorising from case studies before the entry provides a more detailed documentation of those ways.

Finally, the entry concludes with a brief overview of other issues relating to discussions of case studies in business and management that have not been considered in detail. Definitions of Case Studies The relatively late development of business and management as an academic field and that of its component disciplines contributed to an initial reliance on other academic disciplines for discussions of research methods. This is evident with the development of thinking around case studies. This inconsistency is now manifest elsewhere in management research.

The definition of a case study as a research strategy embracing a number of methods has also been echoed by a number of other writers in the business and management disciplines see, for example, Hartley, There are, however, problems with defining case studies as a research strategy, where the term strategy is used to suggest there is a vision that is perceived clearly at the outset and the strategy is then executed as initially envisaged to produce a research output.

However, there needs to be some acknowledgement that it may not be possible to plan in detail in advance the study of phenomena involving human beings and private organizations and that a number of obstacles may be encountered.

For example, it is often not possible to gain access to organizations that one wishes to study, or contacts who were helping with the research may leave the organization, or the phenomenon that one anticipated finding in an organization is not present in the way anticipated. In response to such difficulties, Bill Lee and Mark Saunders have suggested that it is important to distinguish between those case studies in which the approach involved implementation of the research exactly as conceived at the outset, which they refer to as orthodox case studies, and those in which it is acknowledged that a number of choices would have to be made in the course of the research project, partly in response to unanticipated events.

In this second type of scenario, which Lee and Saunders allude to as emergent case studies, the choice of a case study is not a strategy, but a strategic choice to study a unit as interesting per se, which will be followed by a number of other choices— including the organization s or event s to be studied and the sources from which different types of evidence will be drawn—as the research project unfolds.

There are a range of other qualities that different authors in the business and management field have identified as helping to define case studies. Most commonly, as indicated by the definitions provided previously by Jankowicz and Jean Hartley is that a number of different sources of evidence will be used to study the unit of analysis in depth see also Tsang, ; Yin, and that it is difficult to separate out the phenomenon, organization, process, or event that is being studied from its broader context.

Various authors have also suggested different purposes for case studies. For example, Robert Scapens provides a five-fold classification of: i descriptive case studies that provide a detailed account of systems, techniques, and practices and procedures that may be used by practitioners; ii illustrative case studies that demonstrate new practices developed by particular organizations; iii experimental case studies that are used to examine the practical merits and drawbacks of an practical innovation that has been derived from theory; iv exploratory case studies that are used to establish reasons for particular practices or to derive hypotheses about a field for large- scale quantitative surveys; and v explanatory case studies that attempt to explain the reasons for a case.

Thus, different types of case studies are recognised across the business and management fields according to their purpose. It is, thus, only the explanatory case study category that appears as having the conventional academic merit of a theoretical contribution. As in other disciplines, theorizing on the basis of a case study has often been seen across business and management disciplines as in some way inferior to studying and theorizing on the basis of a whole population.

Yet, a single unit can permit realisation of many other qualities, such as recognition of how interaction with others in the course of a study has led to knowledge being co-constructed, an understanding by the participants of the meanings attached to a phenomenon, or an opportunity to allow the expression of voices that are often ignored.

These strengths of case studies have not prevented some advocates of case studies in the business and management field from seeking to emulate the strength of survey research by suggesting ways in which the findings from a single unit may add to understanding of other cases or a wider population.

The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is used here to provide a summary of the different approaches. In this section, this metaphor is used to facilitate understanding of how academics in the business and management field have responded to criticisms of case studies as simply anecdotal.

A kaleidoscope is a mirrored tubular vessel comprising two parts that are overlapped so one part may remain stationary while the other is turned. The vessel is transparent at one end to permit light to shine through. At the other end, there is a lens through which one can look. At the bottom of the vessel in an enclosed space, there is a population of coloured tiles, fragments, or tesserae.

Each of these may have a unique shape and colour. When the user is looking through the lens and turns one end of the kaleidoscope, the individual coloured tiles, which may each be viewed as an individual shape and colour in their own right, tumble and are reflected in mirrors, forming a range of patterns. These increase exponentially in their variety with the addition of each coloured tile, although the range may be limited by creating structures within the vessel to help produce regular patterns.

The potential range of patterns may be increased by viewing the kaleidoscope as an open system into which new tiles may be added and others drop out. Using the kaleidoscope metaphor, one can see how the particular combination of tiles in a pattern may be observed as equivalent to how some researchers view a case as interesting per se, but with some capacity for forms of recurrence if theorised. Others may view the vessel, or the structures and enclosed space within, as the boundaries to the population, or a sub-population, so a pattern of particular tiles what they observe in the case may be explained within the domains of the broader population, linking them to understandings about that population.

A third approach would be to simply explain the nature of the individual tiles observed in the case. Each of these three broad approaches to theorizing will now be elaborated in turn. Building Theory from Case Studies: Generalization and Particularization As individual units, case studies are generally selected on grounds other than the statistical logic that is used to select participants in survey research and to assess the probability of the findings arising in the population as a whole.

In survey research, the use of such logic permits generalization, which is understood here as the development of a general statement or proposition by inference of observation of a particular manifestation of a phenomenon or system Tsang, Each are now considered in turn.

The basis of the generalization is the similarity of situations that might occur elsewhere. This permits statements along the lines of if the same circumstances that are found in this case were to be found in another case, the same phenomenon might arise.

The idea of theoretical generalization has been popularised in the business and management field by Kathleen Eisenhardt and is the most common approach to theorization adopted in empirical articles using case studies published in leading journals in the business and management field Tsang, Ideas around theoretical generalization have been built on in the business and management field by Eric Tsang , who provides a number of ways in which analytic or theoretical generalization may be developed when starting from the propositional-type of statements such as those based on similarity.

Tsang also suggests that case studies may be used to examine the relative merits of different theories regarding the same subject and their applicability to particular situations. If a phenomenon is novel, there may not be an existing explanation for it, but by employing competing theories from other situations that may share some but not all of the characteristics of the new situation, it might be possible to adapt an existing theory to explain the new situation.

In doing so, an existing theory can be extended to the new situation, with the empirical case study contributing to the extension of the theory. Stake argued that a naturalistic generalization arose from a deep understanding of a previous case, which would result in a capacity to recognize when dimensions of the phenomenon appear in new and foreign contexts.

They [i. They guide action, in fact they are inseparable from action. In this regard, naturalistic generalizations are distinctive from the theoretical or analytic generalizations discussed earlier. With an empirical generalization, a number of cases are observed with the purpose of seeing whether there is an empirical regularity or pattern in the population of phenomena or systems that constitute the cases that are observed—effectively, the generalization is based on the pattern that is observed rather than an explanation.

Tsang suggests that the merit of this type of approach is that by identifying a pattern—even if it is not necessarily explained—a specific context may be discounted. Of course, the observation or pattern could then become the subject of subsequent theory building, either through inductive logic of stating a relationship in the pattern that has been observed, or through abductive logic of examining the pattern against ideas in existing theories.

All of the aforementioned instances assume that the researcher does not have full knowledge of the parameters of the population from which the cases are selected.

Where one or more single cases are being studied, the researcher will not necessarily know the parameters of the population. However, in embedded cases, there are assumptions that the broader population is known, at one level.

For example, the embedded cases may be departments of a particular organization and so the parameters of the population will be the organization while the population will be all departments. Combining Empirical Observations With Existing Generalizations There may be occasions when there is some information about the wider population that permits thinking about how that knowledge of the population and its parameters can be used to derive additional benefits from understanding of individual case studies.

This leads to the second group of approaches to theorising from cases by linking the study of units to an understanding of the wider population.

David Cooper and Wayne Morgan brought together the concept of generalization in its application to a wider population with rationales for selecting and understanding particular cases. They identify a number of reasons, three of which state a specific relationship of the single cases to the wider population. The first rationale relates to the use of extreme or deviant cases that might constitute outliers when statistical logic is employed, but which are useful for understanding unusual and important events or situation that differ from the norm and which may mark the limit to the conditions or circumstances in which a theory may apply.

These include politically important cases, criterion-selected cases, homogenous selection, intensity selection, and theory-selected cases. Criterion-selected cases necessitate identifying criteria in advance that help to distinguish cases from others that make up the majority of a population and using those cases to explore other differences.

Particular types of criteria-based selection that Lee and Saunders report are homogenous and intensity. Homogenous selection involves picking a small sub-group of a wider population, but which have definite shared characteristics or identity, to examine how those characteristics are affected by a particular phenomenon or lead to the development of a phenomenon.

Intensity selection involves picking information-rich cases that exhibit a lot of the qualities of a phenomenon that is under consideration with the intention of gaining more information about that phenomenon than might be obtained by selecting cases that are representative of the broader population. Theory-based selection is similar to criterion selection, but involves picking cases on the bases of the recognition of evidence of important theoretical constructs at one or more cases.

A common form of use of this method in management research is that of early adopters—or innovators— of a particular management practice. Different cases are chosen because they provide the full range of variations around one condition affecting the phenomenon under investigation, enabling insights about the impact of that condition.

Lee and Saunders offer other options for selecting case studies to explore variety within a population, when some detail of that wider population is known.

These include purposeful random selection and stratified purposeful section. Purposeful random selection involves the statistical logic of choosing cases according to a systematic method that has been predetermined to afford all relevant cases equal chance of inclusion and to then make a generalization—and report the boundaries of the generalization—on the basis of those findings.

Stratified purposeful selection involves identifying distinct clusters of cases within a population systematically and then studying them. The third rationale proposed by Cooper and Morgan is that of paradigmatic case studies which are chosen because they offer to bring a new intellectual perspective or change in understanding of a theory as it applies to a population.

Rather than having prior knowledge of the population and using that knowledge to select specific cases to understand part of a broader phenomenon, understanding is built of the manifestation of the cases as either a high proportion or the total population. Lee and Saunders give the example from the business and management area of a new form of work system that is so advanced or expensive that only a small number of organizations have yet to adopt it.

All of the organizations with those systems may be known through the trade press, making it easy to identify and research each or a high proportion of that population. Particularization The third response to the criticism of case studies not having the power of generalization enjoyed by survey research, mentioned in the previous section, is rejecting the supposition of superiority of numbers and emphasising the merit of the individual case.

Theorizing through particularization has merits not enjoyed by survey research of explaining what is unique by reporting on why some of the characteristics or events that comprise the case or phenomenon are how they are in the specific context that is being studied.

As its advocates report, in a context where all phenomena, events, etc. In the hitherto discussion, the entry has largely assumed a realist ontology so that a researcher is primarily investigating a world external to him or herself.

Doing Research in Business and Management : an essential guide to planning your project

University of Surrey. ISBN About this book It is now fourteen years since we collaborated in the writing of our first research methods book. In the fifth edition was published Saunders et al. The success of that book suggests that research methods is a popular subject with business and management students. This may be so. But we think that it has more to do with the fact research methods is a complex area- one where it is easy to do things, but much less easy to do things right.


Doing Research in Business and Management brings the theory and Planning Your Project Mark N.K. Saunders, Philip Lewis Saunders, Philip Lewis Free PDF d0wnl0ad, audio books, books to read, good books to read, cheap books.


Doing Research in Business and Management : an essential guide to planning your project

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Doing Research in Business & Management: An Essential Guide to Planning Your Project

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