Building Methodological Bridges: Volume 6


Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Welcome to volume 6 of Research Methodology in Strategy and Management! In creating this series about eight years ago, our belief was that the organizational sciences needed a forum wherein leading scholars could openly express their views about important and emerging issues within research methods. In particular, we wanted the book series to serve as a metaphorical bridge between areas of inquiry that could benefit from increased interaction with each other. This sixth volume of the series recalls these roots by being built around the theme of “Building methodological bridges.”

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to advance research that relies on information from or about individuals and their role in strategic outcomes.

Methodology/approach – We start by identifying three streams of strategy research that call for individual-level data (upper echelons, micro-foundations, and strategy-as-practice) and proceed by examining the methods employed across 43 recent empirical studies.

Findings – Our analysis addresses three key challenges faced by researchers in these domains and catalogues the strategies used to surmount them.

Social implications – By helping to improve methods for research on individuals and strategy, this chapter advances understanding of how people throughout the organization may contribute to strategic outcomes.

Originality/value of paper – Our chapter is one of the first to analyze methods across three research domains that have heretofore been considered separate. In addition to describing what has been done, we suggest opportunities for improvement, frequently by finding ways to cross-fertilize methods from one stream into another.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to establish some of the reasons why there exists a chasm between micro and macro disciplines of organizational sciences. We aim to suggest some fecund areas for bridging the gap between the micro and macro side of our science.

Methodology/Approach – In this chapter, we have polled our colleagues to ascertain the areas that they believe have the most potential to bridge the micro–macro divide. In addition, we have reviewed extant literature to identify some of the areas where bridging work has already started.

Findings – Through our survey and literature review, we have identified a number of areas which can help in narrowing the micro–macro divide.

Social Implications – By suggesting some ways to bridge the micro–macro divide, this chapter helps in setting future research agenda that will help in viewing organizational problems from multiple lenses. Our work also encourages the scholars from various disciplines to explore ways that can integrate the broad disciplines of organizational sciences.

Originality/Value of Paper – We have attempted to take the pulse of researchers in management disciplines concerning the chasm between micro and macro disciplines, and we have tried to integrate this information with the bridging research that has already been reported. Moreover, we have suggested a number of reasons why this gap is so difficult to remediate. We discuss how bridging the gap is connected to the way in which we train, develop, and reward nascent scholars in our field.

Purpose – We show that, although most private employer establishments are small, much reported research (and subsequent suggestions for practice) in management comes from large firms. In turn, we wanted to explore if organizational knowledge gained from studying one or more large firms is necessarily applicable to numerous smaller firms.

Design/methodology/approach – We computed firm size in the United States using existing databases, and we then considered published literature in human resources and strategy to see if the large sample results logically applied to smaller firms.

Findings – At the job-analytic level, it is suggested that jobs might be defined differently and more broadly in smaller establishments than in large organizations. Also, the feasibility of best corporate strategies may be moderated by the size of the firm. In addition, we noted that the underlying model of selection utility in human resource management (HRM), and several factors in its numerical estimation, might need to be modified as a function of firm size.

Originality/value – We hope that this chapter inspires HRM and strategy researchers by helping to focus future evidence-based efforts, creating new initiatives, and providing results that are useful (or scalable) to the large number of small, private-sector U.S. firms.

Purpose – This chapter (a) summarizes leader–member exchange (LMX) measurement practices since the influential reviews by Schriesheim, Castro, and Cogliser (1999) and Gerstner and Day (1997), (b) clarifies the status of LMX as a broad construct from a hierarchical factor model, (c) conducts multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) analyses on leader and follower reports of multidimensional LMX, and (d) investigates discriminant validity between Member LMX and satisfaction with supervisor.

Methodology/Approach – We used (a) a literature search of LMX measurement practices, (b) a combination of meta-analysis and factor analysis to specify the broad LMX construct underlying Liden and Maslyn's (1998) (LMX-MDM) multidimensional instrument, (c) MTMM analyses of leader and member ratings of the LMX-MDM, and (d) a combination of meta-analysis and multiple regression to assess incremental validity of Member LMX beyond satisfaction with supervisor.

Findings – Since 1999, 85% of LMX studies now use one of two dominant LMX scales (LMX-7, Scandura, & Graen, 1984; LMX-MDM, Liden & Maslyn, 1998). These two measures are correlated (rcorrected=.9), suggesting the LMX-7 and the LMX-MDM are alternate forms of the same instrument. 94% of studies that used these two measures treat LMX as a single, broad construct rather than as a multidimensional set of constructs. MTMM analyses suggest Leader LMX and Member LMX are two, separate-but-related constructs (i.e., confirming two source factors and no lower-order trait factors). Last, Member LMX meta-analytically correlates with satisfaction with supervisor at rcorrected=.8. There is some incremental validity of LMX, but the pattern is inconsistent across samples.

Social Implications – We point out that LMX researchers have now moved toward standard measurement of LMX – as a broad, higher-order factor that varies between leader and follower. By doing so, we reveal that the stage is set for cumulative and replicable research on leadership as a dyadic, follower-specific phenomenon.

Originality/Value of Paper – Our chapter is the first to reveal consensus in LMX measurement across studies; to summarize the standard treatment of LMX as a single, broad factor; and to apply MTMM analyses to demonstrate separate Leader LMX and Member LMX source factors.

Purpose – Although there is extensive work on labor mobility, research on entrepreneurial mobility is fragmented and many aspects are largely neglected. We develop a framework for analysis that integrates different perspectives on entrepreneurial mobility to provide a broad agenda for future research.

Design/methodology – We build upon the strategic entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial behaviour theory, resource-based theory and other literatures, to distinguish four quadrants involving high and low geographical mobility and high and low organizational mobility.

Findings – Within each quadrant we identify different types of entrepreneurial mobility, specifically habitual entrepreneurs, management buyouts, university spin-offs, returnee entrepreneurs and transnational entrepreneurs. Issues concerning the development of research programs and methods, with particular emphasis on datasets, are discussed.

Originality/value – It is hoped that this chapter will spur entrepreneurship and strategy scholars to recognize that the scope of the entrepreneurial mobility concept is considerably greater than hitherto appreciated, providing interesting new avenues for theoretical and methodological development in this area.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the frequency of multi-study research packages in the organizational sciences and advocate for their use by detailing strengths and recognizing limitations.

Methodology/approach – Philosophy of science research, focusing on multi-study research packages, is discussed followed by a 20-year review of incidence of these packages in top organizational sciences journals.

Findings – The publication of multi-study research packages have increased over the past 10 years, most notably in micro-level journals.

Social implications – For reasons of validity and generalizability, society benefits if scholars adopt multi-study approaches to knowledge generation and disseminate.

Originality/value of the chapter – This chapter provides the most comprehensive review of multiple-study research packages in the organizational sciences to date, examining publication trends in eight leading micro-and macro-level journals. We also summarize the use of multi-study packages in our own research and offer recommendations for improving the science of replication.

Purpose – This chapter presents four different approaches to doing and writing qualitative research in strategy and management based on different epistemological foundations. It describes two well-established “templates” for doing such work, and introduces two more recent “turns” that merit greater attention.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The chapter draws on methodological texts and a detailed analysis of successful empirical exemplars from the strategy and organization literature to show how qualitative research on strategy processes can be effectively carried out and written up.

Findings – The two “templates” are based on different logics and modes of writing. The first is based on a positivist epistemology and aims to develop nomothetic theoretical propositions, while the second is interpretive and more concerned to capture and gain insight from the meanings given to organizational phenomena. The two “turns” (the practice turn and the discursive turn) are not as well defined but are generating innovative contributions based on new ways of considering the social world.

Originality/Value – The chapter should be helpful to researchers considering qualitative methods for the study of strategy processes. It contributes by comparing different approaches and by recognizing that part of the challenge of doing qualitative research lies in writing it up to communicate its insights in a credible way. Thus while describing the different methods, the chapter also draws attention to effective forms of writing. In addition, it introduces and assesses two more recent “turns” that offer promising routes to novel insight as well as having particular ontological and epistemological affinities with qualitative research methods.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to present a subset of seven statistical and methodological myths and urban legends (SMMULs). When present, SMMULs degrade the overall research process and make manuscript evaluation problematic during the review process. SMMULs covered here included those pertaining to accepting the theoretical model, conventional cutoff values, exploratory factor analysis, common method bias, moderation analysis, Baron and Kenny's four-step mediation test, and permitting correlated item residuals.

Design/Methodology – Given that the details underlying the SMMULs have already been published, the present chapter was a summary of each. The summaries presented the urban legend and sources for it. Subsequently, the kernel of truth underlying the SMMUL was presented, and how this truth may have been lost and distorted. Each summary ends with the recommended “good” practices as presented by the original authors.

Findings/Implications – The implication for researchers is to modify their current practices to strengthen their research and to make better inferences. And for editors and reviewers, the implication is to develop accurate decision rules to strengthen the review process.

Originality/Value – The overall value of the chapter is to improve the research process in general.

Purpose – This chapter examines the potential of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) for strategy research.

Methodology/approach – We introduce the set-theoretic framework of QCA and provide an overview of recent methodological developments.

Findings – We utilize a variety of examples relevant to strategy research to illustrate the action steps and key concepts involved in conducting a QCA study.

Originality/value of paper – We develop examples from core research areas in strategic management to illustrate QCA's potential for examining issues of causality and diversity in strategy research, and in settings involving medium-N samples. We conclude by emphasizing that QCA offers an alternative mode of inquiry to open and redirect important lines of strategy research.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to review and categorize how photographs have been used in management research and to provide strategic management researchers with suggestions about how to use photographs to enhance their qualitative research methodologies.

Methodology/approach – We develop a typology of photographic uses in management research by reviewing several scholarly journals.

Findings – We identify two dimensions that differentiate how photographs have been used in management journals. First, photographs can be used to illustrate scenes from a field setting or they can be interpreted as data. Second, the role of field participants can be one of active collaboration or no involvement in the photographic aspect of the qualitative research project. For instance, field subjects can collaborate in research by aiding in the photo-documentation process and/or aiding in the photo-elicitation process. Choosing which of our four identified photographic approaches represents a critical decision for qualitative researchers interested in incorporating photographs in their research.

Practical implications – We suggest ideas for strategic management researchers related to use of photographs in their research. Also, we describe how specific strategic management research projects can be approached with photography, which we argue can lead to enhanced theoretical contributions.

Originality/value of paper – To date, little has been written in the strategic management field about the use of photography. This chapter provides a succinct review of photographic methods in management research. Moreover, this chapter provides suggestions for how strategy researchers, study participants, and interested readers of management research could benefit from incorporating photographs into research accounts.

Publication date
Book series
Research Methodology in Strategy and Management
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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