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Article

Ebrahim Soltani, Pervaiz K. Ahmed, Ying Ying Liao and Paschal U. Anosike

– The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potential of a qualitative middle-range research approach to contribute to the advancement of operations management (OM) field.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potential of a qualitative middle-range research approach to contribute to the advancement of operations management (OM) field.

Design/methodology/approach

–To better signify such contribution, it takes insight from Merton's (1968) notion of middle-range theory as a means to create pathways of propositions that link substantive concepts and practices of OM in both context-specific and context-free operational environments.

Findings

The paper brings to the fore the argument that achieving the primary objective of filling the “theory-methods” void in OM can be achieved through adoption of a qualitative middle-range approach.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper hinges on the premise that theory-oriented qualitative field research that is able to incorporate experiences of different stakeholders of the OM intervention is highly likely to benefit OM theory advancement as well as OM practice.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article

Daniel A. Pellathy, Joonhwan In, Diane A. Mollenkopf and Theodore P. Stank

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a systematic application of middle-range theorizing, which pays particular attention to contexts and mechanisms, can be used…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a systematic application of middle-range theorizing, which pays particular attention to contexts and mechanisms, can be used to extend current knowledge on logistics customer service (LCS) in a number of critical areas.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies Stank et al.’s (2017) framework for middle-ranging theorizing in logistics to develop a research framework and agenda that can guide future LCS research. Results are generated through a review of the LCS literature and an application of the main concepts of middle-range theorizing.

Findings

The paper outlines opportunities for middle-range research that would extend LCS knowledge in the areas of human and behavioral factors, time-based competition, supply chain complexity, and digitization and technological innovation.

Research limitations/implications

Describing the main characteristics of middle-range theorizing and how middle-range theorizing can be fruitfully applied to LCS research should help to stimulate new knowledge creation in this important area of supply chain logistics management.

Practical implications

By focusing on why and when questions, middle-range theorizing engages with the practical realities of LCS that interest managers and students. Middle-range theorizing moves researchers toward developing a detailed understanding of what actually has to change in order for desired LCS-related outcomes to occur and the contextual factors likely impacting the change process. The paper should, therefore, allow managers to better translate LCS theory into action.

Originality/value

Middle-range theorizing remains new to the supply chain logistics field. The application of middle-range theorizing to LCS research, and logistics research more generally, demands new perspectives on established relationships with the potential to drive original research in areas most relevant to managers.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article

Richard Laughlin

Empirical research in accounting is of considerable importance tothe academic community yet it is surprising to note that it is onlysince the early 1970s that this concern…

Abstract

Empirical research in accounting is of considerable importance to the academic community yet it is surprising to note that it is only since the early 1970s that this concern has gained centre stage. Since this time multiple studies have been undertaken from a variety of different theoretical and methodological perspectives. The literature is now replete with empirical studies from perspectives as far apart as the “positivism” of the Rochester School to the expanding Foucauldian studies of accounting practice. While this eclecticism is commendable at one level it is also confusing at another. Reduces some of this confusion by bringing an overview and much needed order into this variety highlighting the underlying features of these multiple approaches to accounting research. Points out the need for choices to be made on the perspective to be adopted along three continuums concerning “theory”, “methodology” and “change”. Presents a case for “middlerange” thinking for empirical research in accounting. While the reader may not necessarily agree with the logic that leads to this perspective it is hoped that the article will demonstrate that no one perspective can provide a complete picture of accounting reality, that choices on perspective have to be, and can be, made and that these choices are, and should be, contestable.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

David Swanson, Lakshmi Goel, Kristoffer Francisco and James Stock

General theories have been criticized for their inability to explore the mechanics of more specific domain knowledge and understand how, when and where general theory

Abstract

Purpose

General theories have been criticized for their inability to explore the mechanics of more specific domain knowledge and understand how, when and where general theory applies to and extends domain knowledge in supply chain management (SCM). Middle-range theorizing (MRT) is a potential solution to this limitation. This paper aims to assist researchers in understanding the relationship between MRT and general theorizing (GT) and connecting MRT research findings to general theory.

Design/methodology/approach

This research provides a structured literature review of 518 articles, from eight journals in logistics, SCM and operations management. Theoretically based articles are analyzed by primary domain and SCM context.

Findings

There are frameworks for conducting MRT; however, the literature does not sufficiently assist researchers in understanding how middle-range (MR) theory should relate to general theory. Findings include a better understanding of underserved areas in SCM, guideline frameworks for understanding when to apply MRT, when to apply GT and how MRT knowledge can be connected to SCM domain knowledge.

Originality/value

This study provides a timely and appropriate compilation of theory research in SCM, including significant implications for both theory and practice, by helping to articulate the evolving philosophy of science in SCM.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Content available
Article

Horst Treiblmaier

This paper aims to strive to close the current research gap pertaining to potential implications of the blockchain for supply chain management (SCM) by presenting a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to strive to close the current research gap pertaining to potential implications of the blockchain for supply chain management (SCM) by presenting a framework built on four established economic theories, namely, principal agent theory (PAT), transaction cost analysis (TCA), resource-based view (RBV) and network theory (NT). These theories can be used to derive research questions that are theory-based as well as relevant for the industry. This paper is intended to initiate and stimulate an academic discussion on the potential impact of the blockchain and introduces a framework for middle-range theorizing together with several research questions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on previous theories that are frequently used in SCM research and shows how they can be adapted to blockchain-related questions.

Findings

This paper introduces a framework for middle-range theorizing together with several research questions.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents blockchain-related research questions derived from four frequently used theories, namely, PAT, TCA, RBV and (NT). These questions will guide future research pertaining to structural (PAT, TCA) and managerial issues (RBV, NT) and will foster middle-range theory development in SCM research.

Practical implications

Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly change SCM. Given the huge investments by industry, academic research is needed which investigates potential implications and supports companies. In this paper, various research questions are introduced that illustrate how the implications of blockchain on SCM can be investigated from different perspectives.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, no academic papers are published in leading academic journals that investigate the relationship between SCM and blockchain from a theory-based perspective.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article

Michael Saren and Jaqueline Pels

This paper aims to highlight the value of adopting a middlerange theory approach in conceptualizing and investigating marketing practices.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the value of adopting a middlerange theory approach in conceptualizing and investigating marketing practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on the work of Merton, the paper discusses O'Driscoll's article on the role of paradoxes (both theoretical as well as methodological paradoxes).

Findings

The paper argues that it is important to rescue and stress the benefits that adopting a multi‐paradigmatic view has in providing a better understanding of current marketing practices.

Originality/value

This position allows one both to avoid the incommensurability “trap” of being “boxed” into the explanatory dimensions of the chosen paradigm and to develop a richer holistic view. The discussion is grounded on the Contemporary Marketing Practices (CMP) research project.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article

Kosuke Sakai

This paper aimed to analyze the ways in which Niklas Luhmann's theory of the functional differentiation of society can be applied to historical studies. To achieve this, a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aimed to analyze the ways in which Niklas Luhmann's theory of the functional differentiation of society can be applied to historical studies. To achieve this, a semantic analysis of the development of modern insurance in Germany during the nineteenth century was conducted.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an examination of the significant features of Luhmann's theoretical frameworks in empirical objects, Luhmann's semantic analysis was reformulated as an approach based on a middle-range theory, similar to that of Robert K. Merton, where the potential of the theory can be maximized for empirical research. This paper embodies this proposal, citing several developments within organizations that imbued insurance technology with various ideas and values.

Findings

The theory of the functional differentiation of society can be reconstructed as a working hypothesis from a methodological perspective, instead of a general theory that explains every part of society. Applying this to empirical social practices leads to progress in historical studies conducting the semantic variations connected to the institutional formation and their boundary works.

Originality/value

This paper provides a practical research perspective for historical studies in the social sciences, employing a reinterpretation of sociological theory that may be understood only as a structural presupposition of modern society. Furthermore, the increased possibility of historical-comparative studies on modern insurance is indicated by illustrating the applicability of this framework to a detailed case study of modern insurance.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Book part

Dieter Rehfeld and Judith Terstriep

The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the nature and range of solutions that can empower and (re-)engage vulnerable and marginalized populations so that they can…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the nature and range of solutions that can empower and (re-)engage vulnerable and marginalized populations so that they can fully participate in the social, economic, cultural, and political life. These innovative social solutions may be viewed as interactive, generative, and contextualized phenomena that are driven by individuals, organizations and institutional actors at micro, meso, and macro levels.

Methodology/approach

The use of Middle Range Theory (MRT) as an integrative approach provides an understanding of the processes and mechanisms that govern social phenomena including social innovations. Middle range theorizing focuses on empirical phenomenon and creates general statements that can be verified by data. As such MRT provides an appropriate framework to investigate social innovation trajectory and dynamics.

Findings

MRT has been used within the context of SIMPACT, a research project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program and is the acronym for “Boosting the Impact of Social Innovation in Europe through Economic Underpinnings.” The application of MRT to selected case studies has permitted to identify the micro (individual actions) and macro (structures) links in a variety of social and economic contexts across Europe.

Research implications

This chapter provides new insights as how different themes studied in the SIMPACT project (i.e., migration, unemployment, education, gender, etc.) in different economic and geographic zones (i.e., Anglo-Saxon, Continental, East-European, and Scandinavia) have been treated by social innovators in response to problems of welfare, economic exclusion, and vulnerability. The research findings are susceptible to be of use in other countries with different economic, political, and social structures.

Practical/social implications

The significance of vulnerability is well-recognized by social innovators, intermediaries, and impact investors including governments and policy-makers. This requires greater policy and practical interventions, guidelines, and support. However the capacity to intervene is conditioned by financial and human resources. Further investigation about alternative social innovation business models will shed light on the resources and policies that would be needed to foster social innovation.

Originality/value

The analysis of social innovations' economic factors by case studies represents a pioneering effort to highlight social innovation path dependency and building as an effort to overcome the problems of vulnerability and exclusion.

Details

Finance and Economy for Society: Integrating Sustainability
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-509-6

Keywords

Content available
Article

Jessica L. Darby, Brian S. Fugate and Jeff B. Murray

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest…

Abstract

Purpose

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest the use of multiple methods within the positivism paradigm, which dominates the discipline and may constrain the ability to develop middle-range theory and propose workable solutions to today’s supply chain challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods.

Design/methodology/approach

This research conceptually illustrates how positivist and interpretive philosophies translate into different research approaches by reviewing an extant positivist qualitative study that uses grounded theory and then detailing how an interpretive researcher would approach the same phenomenon using the hermeneutic method.

Findings

This research expands the boundaries and impact of the field by broadening the set of questions research can address. It contributes a detailed illustration of the interpretive research process, as well as applications for the interpretive approach in future research, particularly theory elaboration, middle-range theorizing, and emerging domains such as the farm-to-fork supply chain and the consumer-based supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The development of alternative ways of seeking knowledge enhances the potential for creativity, expansion, and progress in the field.

Practical implications

Practical implications of this research include enabling researchers to elaborate theory and develop middle-range theories through an alternative philosophical paradigm. This paradigm facilitates practical insights that are directly relevant to particular domains and move beyond general theories seeking generalizability.

Social implications

Social implications of this research are much more indirect in nature. This research encourages supply chain management (SCM) scholars to look at phenomena (including those with social implications) from a different philosophical perspective, which can reveal new insights.

Originality/value

This research contributes a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods and also contributes a methodological operationalization of the interpretive approach. By reflecting on the nature of science and method in SCM, the study opens the door for creativity and progress to expand the boundaries and impact of the field.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article

Chris Voss, Helen Perks, Rui Sousa, Lars Witell and Nancy V. Wünderlich

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of context and its implications for theory and research in service.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of context and its implications for theory and research in service.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper based on exploring existing research and theory related to context in service research.

Findings

The characteristics of service make context both important and challenging, there is great contextual diversity in service research as reflected, for example in ecosystems made up of multiple contextual variables. There is a need to identify the context-specific nature of middle range theory and the contextual logic of general theory. The authors explore the challenges of context for service theory and how we might learn from theory in a particular context and test or adapt it in other contexts.

Originality/value

The findings of this paper are of value to researchers seeking to develop and justify theory in service research (general, middle range or theory in use).

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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