From Complexity to Transparency: Managing the Interplay between Theory, Method and Empirical Phenomena in IMM Case Studies
Journal article, 2010
Theory, method and empirical phenomena are the three cornerstones of research. In this paper we contemplate the interplay between them when case research in industrial marketing is concerned. Developments in research depend on what empirical phenomena we are able to capture, how theories are developed to understand and explain these phenomena and what methods we use and/or develop in the process. While the emphasis is often put on one of these aspects alone, this paper focuses on the links and interplay between theory, case method and empirical phenomena in the development of research in industrial marketing. Specifically, we seek to provide common ground between orthodox (deductive) and unorthodox (abductive) approaches to managing the interplay by making a pragmatic call for transparency in research procedures. In this endeavour we use the papers included in this special issue as examples of various aspects of this interplay. We conclude by suggesting that there is a gamut of approaches possible to case research in industrial marketing, each with its specific links to theory and empirical phenomena, and that this is promising for the development of research in the field, as long as it helps reduce, rather than increase, the complexity of the case studied. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Industrial marketing management
Case study methodology