No firm is an island. Decisions, actions, and outcomes of a firm are embedded in their relationships with suppliers, customers, competitors, downstream, and upstream firms. The formation and management of strategic alliances among firms within an interfirm network of firms inform awareness that a firm needs to develop a strategic stance explicitly of its contributions and the resulting outcomes of all participants within an interfirm network of firms.
This chapter points out that the use of a wide range of theoretical paradigms in marketing research requires researchers to use a broad range of methodologies. As an aid in doing so, the chapter argues for the use of case study research (CSR), defines CSR, and describes several CSR theories and methods that are useful for describing, explaining, and forecasting processes occurring in business-to-business (B2B) contexts. The discussion includes summaries of six B2B case studies spanning more than 60 years of research. This chapter advocates embracing the view that learning and reporting objective realities of B2B processes is possible using CSR methods. CSR methods in the chapter include using multiple interviews (2 + ) separately of multiple persons participating in B2B processes, direct research and participant observation, decision systems analysis, degrees-of-freedom analysis, ethnographic-decision-tree-modeling, content analysis, and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fs/QCA.com). The discussion advocates rejecting the dominant logic of attempting to describe and explain B2B processes by arms-length fixed-point surveys that usually involve responses from one executive per firm with no data-matching of firms in specific B2B relationships – such surveys lack details and accuracy necessary for understanding, describing, and forecasting B2B processes.