The purpose of this paper is to examine how qualitative case research (QCR) has been conducted in the field of international entrepreneurship (IE) in terms of onto-epistemology and methodology. QCR can serve as an umbrella approach for contextualizing and capturing the complexity of IE opportunities, events, conditions and relationships, and to illuminate and enrich the understanding of related IE processes.
A thorough literature review was conducted of IE journal articles published between 1989 and mid-2017. This paper identified and analyzed 292 journal articles in terms of theoretical purpose and research design.
The findings suggest that the “positivistic” QCR is the customary convention of QCR in IE. “Exploratory” and “theory building” are the two most commonly pursued objectives. There have also been atypical practices and increased methodological rigor in recent years. Alternative paradigmatic QCRs that depart from positivistic assumptions are in an early stage of development in IE.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research examining QCR onto-epistemology and methodology approaches in IE, providing a useful state of the art that has been hitherto lacking in the literature. Based on this paper’s findings, the authors suggest that the IE field would benefit from greater methodological transparency in the reporting and writing of QCR. Also, the breadth of knowledge and legitimacy of the IE area would be enhanced through more studies involving unconventional (beyond positivistic) QCR.
The authors are grateful to Dr Qingan Huang for his kind support in search of IE case studies. Junzhe Ji acknowledges the support from the Research Foundation of Humanities and Social Sciences for Young Scholars by the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 15YJC630040).
Ji, J., Plakoyiannaki, E., Dimitratos, P. and Chen, S. (2019), "The qualitative case research in international entrepreneurship: a state of the art and analysis", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 164-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-02-2017-0052Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited