Field Guide to Case Study Research in Business-to-business Marketing and Purchasing: Volume 21
Table of contents(19 chapters)
List of Contributors
This short case study deals with the analysis of the airborne refueling tanker contract placed by the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. group Boeing. The data used in this case is all drawn from secondary sources, and the story told chronologically. Initially, the scene is set with a discussion of the types of relationship, planned and de facto, that emerge when companies do business with each other, and an analysis of the situations when different emphasis is placed upon specific benefits and costs of the relationship. Discussion continues around the concept that relationship benefits are perceived as more important for the continuation of a relationship than relationship costs – when relationship value, direct switching costs, and sunk costs exist, the search for a new partner is reduced.
The question of why Boeing was favored by the U.S Department of Defense over competing Airbus Industries stands in the center of this analysis. The analysis explains how existing business relations and their binding effects, as well as resulting advantages and disadvantages, influence subsequent behavior.
This simple case study tells the story of three young men who started an online business-to-business trading portal for fun, and to help fund them through university. They seized the opportunity of a major assignment to ask a new lecturer, the narrator, to guide them into profitability. Reluctantly, the young men were coerced into a literature survey, which proved surprisingly helpful to them. A simple research project followed, using mixed methods (survey, expert opinion, key account interviews). Based on the survey results and some simple frameworks from the literature, the young men not only completed their exercise, but also went on to turn their hobby into a sustainable business. The business still exists today, based on the simple study conducted some 12 years ago.
For several hundreds of years printing has been the only effective channel for spreading mass communication. During the 1900s several new media channels have been invented and, with the addition of the Internet, this has both changed the way media is consumed and has increased the competition between different channels. This qualitative case study of 37 firms reports on how relationships are used in the printing industry to relieve some of the impact of the competitive forces from new, and easily accessible, media as a means for marketing and, furthermore, on the impact on the printing industry as an industry. The results from the case study show that there are both internal and external effects of forming relationships and those vertical, as well as horizontal, relationships are of great importance to create a sustainable competitive situation for the printing industry. Relationships are used to increase both the strategic flexibility of the firm and the flexibility of the print media channel. Furthermore, the study illustrates that the printing industry, and print as a medium of communication, is drifting gradually away from the actual customer due to the new paradigm of value creation.
Over the past 50 years, a substantial interest has been put to research on how innovation spreads within social networks over time (see Rogers, 1962, 2010). Our initial aim was to examine innovation diffusion in industrial networks. We operationalized the research through a case study of an advertising network by using systematic combining as the approach (Dubois & Gadde, 2002, 2014). From the initial focus of innovation diffusion, the rematching of data and theory led us to focus on the barriers of innovation diffusion. By doing so, we found out that multilevel strategizing appears to be an important phenomenon in understanding dynamics of innovation diffusion within industrial networks. Specifically, strategizing occurs in two levels: (1) the groups within the network compete for position, and (2) actors within a group compete for position by trying to differentiate themselves from other group actors. A strategic mismatch between the two levels leads the network to become decelerated or even static in diffusing new innovations (Abrahamsen, Henneberg, & Naudè, 2012). Uncovering these findings would not have been possible without the use of systematic combining and the constant matching between theoretical and empirical domains.
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.
This chapter focuses on the ethnographic research approach that I employed in a service marketing study. The first part briefly describes ethnography’s key characteristics, that is, emergent research logic, prolonged fieldwork, and multiple modes of data collection, where the main method is observation. The second part discusses the data collection methods: participant observation, informal discussion, interview, and document analysis. This section describes in detail how these techniques were used in practice and highlights the key challenges I faced, especially related to the observations, and how I managed these challenges. The third part describes the case, field setting, informants, and field relationships. The development project that I studied concerned a bank’s website and project members from the bank and different consultant agencies represent the study’s informants. The fieldwork lasted for about one year and covered the entire development process from the initial stages to the launch, and some time after. The chapter ends with a thorough discussion about the research criteria of validity, reliability, and generality, and the coping tactics that I used in this study to enhance these. Prolonged fieldwork, multiple modes of data collection, reflexivity, and specification of the research are among those important tactics that this last section discusses in detail.
The general theory of behavioral strategies includes a set of propositions supporting alternative configurations of objectives, contextual features, and beliefs/assessments by executives. The theory includes the outcomes of selections of specific decision alternatives. Building behavioral-strategy models in contexts enriches one or more goals of science and practice: description, understanding, prediction, and influence/control. This chapter is a primer to the general theory. A brief review of relevant empirical studies supports the general theory. The empirical studies include the use of alternative data collection and analytically tools including true field experiments, think aloud methods, long interviews, statistical hypothesis testing, ethnographic decision tree modeling, and building and testing algorithms (e.g., qualitative comparative analysis, QCA). The general theory is the blending of cognitive science, economics, marketing, psychology, and implemented practices in explicit contexts. Consequently, behavioral-strategy theory is distinct from context-free microeconomics, market-driven, and competitor-only decision-making. Capturing and reporting contextually driven alternative routines to strategy setting by a compelling set of propositions represents what is particularly new and valuable about the general theory. The general theory serves as a useful foundation for advances theory and improving the practice of implemented strategies.
This case study discusses the importance of studying buyer and seller interactions, as they are relevant to understand how relationships evolve. It further presents a conceptual foundation for investigating B2B interactions, particularly in the context of the trade fair. The trade fair is presented as a privileged field for relationship building and development, where socialization episodes occupy a relevant role. Data were gathered through observations, interactions, and interviews, spread over a twelve-month field-study of participants at trade fairs, and their comments analyzed within a framework of relationship building. Insights revealed include the importance of innovation versus relational interactions; the informality of interactions; the opportunity for information exchange and learning; social interactions, and relationship development. The chapter concludes by considering that a relationship marketing strategy to B2B trade fair participation is vital for the effectiveness of this business activity and a challenge for exhibitors, visitors, and trade fair organizers.
This study examines fifteen business cases, focusing on change management in ten countries on three continents between 1996 and 2007. The companies are from different sectors (industrial and services), sizes (from 30 to 10,000 employees; from 1 million euros turnover up to 1,000 million euros), and different cultural and ethnographic backgrounds. The research, based in case studies and action research, introduces a model to implement strategic change in order to generate sustainable competitive advantage in companies under situations of deep change or crisis. From the conceptual point of view this model breaks some of the basic principles of strategy formulation. The model does not begin with a strategic diagnosis that influences the implementation of planned strategic decisions. The model begins instead after the detection of a need for deep strategic change, and forces outside the organization have already determined some of the required changes (market recession, for instance). The model is also atypical regarding the basic principles of implementing strategic change, because existing literature ignores competitive advantage during crisis management, probably because the firm’s executives assume that the firm has no competitive advantage, and only after the implementation of the required changes will conditions exist to create a competitive advantage. Nevertheless, the model introduces competitive advantage as a central element when managers implement change, and takes the long-term strategic requirements into consideration without forgetting the challenge for short-term management brought about by deep crisis.
Decision system analysis is a conceptually simple technique that maps the process of group decisions over time. The data is gathered in a variety of ways, but most often some form of protocol analysis is the foremost tool. The data is then condensed and depicted as a flowchart for a specific decision. If several such flowcharts can be assembled within an industry, they can be melded together to form a generic guide that is very useful to practitioners and very interesting to theorists. Here, a brief history of the development of the technique leads to a description of the process. This is followed by a comparison to cognitive mapping (a similar technique applied to mapping thought processes rather than physical processes), and an illustrative longitudinal example of DSA.
This chapter covers a diverse range of alternative methods for capturing deep major account insights online. Increasingly in the twenty first century, B2B decision-makers remain abreast of industry innovations and product information through participation in online communities. Through using social mobile technologies businesses exchange product and service experiences online amongst peers not just vendor organisations. A key aspect of this chapter shares rationale for selection of a marketing versus research community, community objectives, online techniques to gain major account insights using big data, resourcing, integration with existing marketing systems and budgeting for ongoing maintenance of marketing communities supporting B2B sales and marketing initiatives. This chapter focuses on the emerging area of B2B sales activities for creation and management of online communities for Major Account management of energy supply customers. A case-based research strategy specifically honed towards sensemaking of major account activities through using B2B online communities in conjunction with emerging research methods is outlined and critiqued.
An issue that is becoming yet more relevant to modern manufacturers is that of flexibility. As life cycles become shorter a manufacturing firm can easily be left with redundant stock and dated processes. In Taiwan this issue has been addressed at several levels, this case study describes one such project. A Taiwanese academic conducted a study, gaining business acceptance of a hierarchical set of theoretical flexibility factors, then rearranging these via pictorial representations of fuzzy logic-derived plane surfaces, and finally re-presenting them to business as a set of ordered propositions designed to identify the key factors contributing to flexibility. The learning points relate, first, to the empirical facts uncovered about the specific factors that have a major bearing on manufacturing flexibility. These factors are, of course, specific to Taiwan and the current environment there. Second, though, is the more enduring illustration of a mixed-method case approach; where interviews, fuzzy logic analytical methods, and pictorial representation of the fuzzy logic output all combine to give clear guidance to managers of an industrial sector under stress, and to the policy makers who exert significant control over their environment.
This chapter outlines a method for developing simulation code from case-based data using narrative sequence analysis. This analytical method allows researchers to systematically specify the ‘real-world’ behaviours and causal mechanisms that describe the research problem and translate this mechanism into simulation code. An illustrative example of the process used for code development from case-based data is detailed using a well-documented case of photovoltaic innovation. Narrative sequence analysis is used to analyse case data. Micro-sequences are identified and simplified. Each micro-sequence is presented first in pseudo-code and then in simulation code. This chapter demonstrates the coding process using Netlogo code. Narrative sequence analysis provides a rigorous and systematic approach to identifying the underlying mechanisms to be described when building simulation models. This analytical technique also provides necessary and sufficient information to write simulation code. This chapter addresses a current gap in the methodology literature by including case data within agent-based model building processes. It benefits B2B marketing researchers by outlining guiding processes and principles in the use of case-based data to build simulation models.
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- Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing
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- Emerald Publishing Limited
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