West Meets East: Toward Methodological Exchange: Volume 7


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Welcome to the seventh volume of Research Methodology in Strategy and Management. The mission of this book series is to provide a forum for critique, commentary, and discussion about key methodology issues in the strategic management field. Strategic management relies on an array of complex methods to understand how firms can attain and sustain competitive advantage. How researchers employ different methods to conduct their research in different research contexts and understand the implications associated with their research choices is fundamental to the methodological rigour and the advancement of strategic management theory.

Purpose – This chapter reports on a rapidly growing trend in the analysis of data about emerging market (EM) economies – the use of baseline models as comparisons for explanatory models. Baseline models estimate expected values for the dependent variable in the absence of a hypothesized causal effect but set higher standards than do traditional null hypotheses tests that expect no effect.

Design/methodology/approach – Although the use of baseline models research originated in the 1960s, it has not been widely discussed, or even acknowledged, in the EM literature. We surveyed published EM studies to determine trends in the use of baseline models.

Findings – We categorize and describe the different types of baseline models that scholars have used in EM studies, and draw inferences about the differences between more effective and less effective uses of baseline models.

Value – We believe that comparisons with baseline models offer distinct methodological advantages for the iterative development of better explanatory models and a deeper understanding of empirical phenomena.

Purpose – To provide strategic management scholars, particularly graduate students and new faculty members, a novel approach, the lens model, to investigate emerging economies phenomena.

Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the strategic management literature and a search of the strategy databases and journals, I propose the lens model approach and discuss its origins, development, and designs since its introduction. It has been used extensively in such fields as cognitive psychology, social psychology, medicine, agriculture, human resources management, and organizational behavior. Besides the wide application, it has relevance for strategic management research.

Findings – An illustrative study and a summary of the approach from a previous study in one prominent journal are also provided as guides. I conclude by providing recommendations on what to consider in using the approach for the study of emerging economies.

Research limitations/implications – In addition to the strengths of the approach, its weaknesses are also discussed. Suggestions on maximizing the potential of the approach are also discussed.

Practical implications – The approach is an invaluable source particularly for graduate students of strategy who often are unfamiliar with microlevel approaches. They can use it to supplement approaches for strategic management.

Originality/value – To my knowledge, this chapter is the first to discuss the lens model approach in the strategic management literature. In that regard, it fills a gap in the research methodology literature. It can therefore help graduate students improve their careers.

Purpose – The purpose is to present item response theory (IRT) as a promising approach to deal with theoretical and methodological challenges which may not be adequately addressed with linear factor analysis (LFA) techniques.

Approach – We address this limitations and present IRT's approach to counteracting these difficulties. We further present two IRT models in greater detail and make a theoretical comparison between these models and LFA techniques. Then, we illustrate how IRT is applied in practice by analyzing a scale of trust by an IRT and an LFA approach and comparing their results.

Practical implications – Scale properties may vary among countries because some items may function differently in different contexts. Moreover, a scale's reliability depends on the value of the latent variable being assessed, which implies that the scale may discriminate better among certain ranges of the latent trait than among others. The theory we hereby present offers a more adequate approach to dealing with these issues than extant LFA methods.

Originality/value – This chapter presents a methodology of recognized value in other fields of knowledge into the field of strategy and international business, thereby advancing the methodologies available for doing research in these domains.

Purpose – This chapter provides an overview of multilevel modeling with a focus on the application of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) in international management research.

Findings – The key topics covered include an introduction to hierarchical linear models, how to apply appropriate hierarchical linear models to address different types of international management research questions, and six methodological issues concerning international management research with a multilevel analysis.

Originality/value – The overview of HLM and its relevance for international management research facilitates researchers to apply this powerful analytical strategy in their future research.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine methodological trends in emerging market strategy research and to provide a comprehensive review of methods of assessing group variation in comparative studies.

Methodology/approach – This comprises a systematic review of the methodology of emerging market research over the past 10 years, followed by methodological best practices for comparative studies involving emerging and mature markets, with exemplars from the past research.

Findings – Despite previous calls for more comparative studies in emerging market research, most of the literature is reporting on single-country studies. There is some confusion in terminology and the methods used in this area of strategy research. Increased attention to the “East” calls for a reevaluation of methods utilized in comparative studies. The methods described in this chapter present best practices for comparative research.

Social implications – More comparative studies would substantially expand our understanding of the differences between the emerging and developed markets, and the potential impact of emerging markets on global economy. Rigorous research methods extend validity and generalizability of the studies.

Originality/value – This chapter is the first study to date to analyze the methodological trends of the entire field of emerging market research over the span of 10 years and to provide systematic methodological recommendations tailored to analyzing variation in comparative studies.

Purpose – This chapter introduces two empirical models that could be used to examine the influence of Eastern and Western culture on strategic management: the cultural consensus model (CCM) and the cultural mixture model (CMM).

Methodology/approach – We describe how strategic management scholars can use these models and suggest areas where these models can be of greatest use, including international market entry, international mergers and acquisitions and international alliances, global headquarters and subsidiary relationships, and corporate governance.

Findings – Originally developed by cognitive anthropologists and cultural psychologists, these models can measure domain specificity, scope, and heterogeneity of cultural influences within and across Eastern and Western societies; can address multilevel issues; and can measure an individual or firm's representativeness of the culture.

Social implications – This new research methodology can help strategic management researchers address the impact of “West meets East” on strategic management outcomes and processes.

Originality/value of chapter – The two empirical models provide methodologies that integrate qualitative and quantitative methods.

Purpose – This chapter illustrates how agent-based modeling (ABM) simulations may be incorporated into future emerging market research so as to build and strengthen existing and new theory. The area of strategy and organizations has used cellular automata, NK landscapes, and network simulations, but international business has rarely entertained their use. This is a loss for the area because emerging markets are rapidly growing and changing while research lags behind. Emerging markets are extremely complex environments best studied using simulations as complementary to existing research tools.

Design/methodology/approach – This chapter divides emerging market studies into three main areas including (1) foreign direct investment, (2) governance structures, and (3) international trade exporting. Through a discussion of the existing research in each of these areas, research opportunities applying ABM are identified. Illustrations allow explanation of the three agent-based simulation methods, as mentioned, based on previous ABM research in strategy and demonstrate how ABM may be applied to future emerging market studies.

Findings – A main insight is that ABM could lead to the rapid catch-up and improvement of emerging market research, especially when data for empirical work is limited, nonexistent, or prohibitively expensive to gather. ABM does not replace empirical work, but past research can be clarified and early theory developed so that if data becomes available, empirical work can be sharp and quickly realized having strong theoretical guidance.

Originality/value – This work, aimed at emerging market researchers, uniquely highlights why and how simulation tools are required and may be used in emerging market research.

Purpose – To reflect on reasons for refusal in cross-cultural telephone surveys and address ways of reducing non-response from Chinese managers.

Approach – We first propose a conceptual model for telephone survey cooperation, drawing on existing research regarding survey non-response. This is evaluated through reflections on non-response to a telephone survey of 1,900 Chinese senior and middle managers working in privately owned high-technology firms.

Findings – We conclude with a framework for cooperation in cross-cultural telephone surveys, enhancing the leverage-saliency theory. Among many factors, home country interviewers are crucial in gaining access and generating survey interview responses. However, they require careful recruitment, rigorous training and monitoring to help ensure the quality of research data.

Research implications – Our framework provides practical advice in minimising non-response in cross-cultural telephone surveys. This includes sample selection, the development of the survey instrument (and translation), reasons for refusal, research incentives and the role of interviewers.

Originality/value – Our contribution in this chapter is twofold: an enhanced understanding of leverage-saliency theory in cross-cultural telephone surveys, and an articulation of the role of interviewers in changing the dynamics of positive and negative leverage through telephone interaction with managers.

Purpose – The goal of the chapter is to propose a different approach to conducting strategic management research in emerging market countries (EMCs) by moving away from the current practice which ignores the fundamental differences in the infrastructural context and philosophical worldviews between EMCs and the industrialized countries of the West.

Design/methodology/approach – Most of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of strategic management are based on the Western, Anglo-Saxon context. In this chapter, we argue that the differences between developed nations and EMCs are paradigmatic and extend the whole gamut from epistemological to ontological and ideological differences. These differences are typically superficially treated by investigators whose research merits are judged by their quantitative rigor and other positivist yardsticks. We borrow from the work of (Guba & Lincoln, 1994) and suggest that the choice of the research design be matched with the goal and intended outcomes of the research. For example, exploratory research intended to uncover and understand the fundamental concepts from the EMC worldview should be matched with an emic approach and phenomenology and hermeneutics research methods. Confirmatory research intended to test the generalizability of the concepts should be matched with an etic approach, and multiple case studies, questionnaires, as the most appropriate research designs.

Findings – We believe that research designs that take these factors into account are likely to deliver results that are more robust and representative of the true realities in emerging market countries. Furthermore, the bias toward empirical and quantitative approaches was clearly delineated to further support the need for a more comprehensive approach in conducting research in the field of strategic management.

Originality/value – This chapter contributes to the ongoing discourse and conversations about conducting the research in strategic management more responsive and engaging with people in emerging market countries rather than dictating to them what they need to learn and know. A more enriched discourse will likely come out of such interactions which would strengthen the discipline due to the utilization of multiple approaches to conducting research in diverse environments.

Purpose – Agribusiness is crucial for the Brazilian trade balance surplus. Innovation, not only that focused on technology or productivity, is a basic condition for its development. The context of the agribusiness activities in a developing country is dynamic and requires a multilevel and multifaceted view. This suggests that these features need to be incorporated both in the theories and methods. Therefore, we propose a method, from within the perspective of Configurations Theory, of capturing this dynamic multidimensionality. The method was applied in the context of the rice-farming business in Southern Brazil.

Methodology/approach – The proposed method, which we refer to as a Case Study Method with Multiple Units of Analysis and Mixed Methods, was applied in a research organization in an attempt to identify the evolution of innovation while considering a theoretical perspective based on multilevel rules.

Findings – Six different configurations in the temporal organization of research were identified. These six configurations describe the evolution of four emphases given to innovation, the drivers associated with the evolution of these emphases, and the changes that have occurred over time.

Social implications – The results may provide support for new public policies for rice farming and lead to improvements in the organization's strategies for innovation.

Originality/value of chapter – The combination of methods used (Case Study, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Social Network Analysis, Path Dependence, and Patterns of Decision Making) to study configurations, together with the dynamic approach to innovation based on multilevel rule, is unique.

Purpose – This paper reflects on how does the mode, in which we ask questions, affect the responses? It explores the differences between the responses to the same questions obtained through two different modes – depth interviews and self-administered questionnaires (SAQs).

Approach – This paper is based on a series of serendipitous but enlightening insights that were obtained while conducting research that sought to examine the drivers of corporate environmentalism in firms based in Eastern and Western economies. The methodology adopted in the research project involved conducting depth interviews with senior-most managers in business organizations in India (Eastern) and New Zealand (Western). The insights that form the basis for this paper were gained when some managers treated the list of questions in the interview guide as a structured open-ended questionnaire and sent back detailed written responses.

Findings – This paper reports that the written responses obtained through SAQs in this project were different both in form and content; they were staid, reserved, clichéd and aimed at being politically correct. In contrast the responses to the same question asked in the interviews were open and candid admissions. Interview responses stood up to the triangulation tests, while the written responses did not. These differences were particularly evident in the eastern context.

Research implications – While both SAQs and interviews are prone to social desirability bias, this paper suggests that there is a greater opportunity to reduce social desirability bias in interviews. This is especially true if a trained interviewer can convince the participants of the credibility, importance and legitimacy of the study.

Originality/value – This paper contributes in two important ways:1.It addresses the issue of how responses to the same question differ across SAQs and depth interviews in strategy and management research.2.It also examines whether this effect differs across Eastern and Western organizational contexts.

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