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Using Discourse Analysis in Case Study Research in Business-to-Business Contexts

Field Guide to Case Study Research in Business-to-business Marketing and Purchasing

ISBN: 978-1-78441-080-3

Publication date: 27 August 2014


The basic thesis espoused in this chapter is that a discourse analytic approach, that explores managers’ stories, is equally valid as a more typical case study approach that seeks confirmatory data. Depth interviews with industrial network participants are conducted and described; interviews where managers are encouraged to talk of their lived experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and intentions. Specifically, this case study presents a qualitative exploration of identity processes in industrial networks, in particular social constructions of Indian modernity. The analysis suggests what these constructions mean for the management of buyer–seller relationships (cf. Bagozzi, 1995). The study also reflects calls for more empirical research to be undertaken to improve understanding of contemporary marketing practices, especially in large emerging market economies such as India and Brazil (Dadzie, Johnston, & Pels, 2008). Discursive data were collected in the form of transcripts from semi-structured interviews with a variety of managerial participants involved in trade between New Zealand (NZ) and India. All the participants are Indian, with interviews taking place in 2006 in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. Interviews were conducted in English; with 23 individuals representing organizations operating in the lumber, wool, horticulture, dairy, engineering, IT, tourism, and education industries, they lasted between 45 and 90 minutes, and were recorded on audio and video media. The study goes some way toward addressing the dominant Western perspective prevalent in most studies of business relationships, and shows how discourse analysis can provide a rich analytical perspective on business-to-business relationships.




We acknowledge the comments and suggestions made by James Fitchett and Nick Ashill in helping to maximize the contribution that this manuscript makes.


Ellis, N. and Rod, M. (2014), "Using Discourse Analysis in Case Study Research in Business-to-Business Contexts", Field Guide to Case Study Research in Business-to-business Marketing and Purchasing (Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 77-99.



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