The idea is to systematically compare and contrast theory and data, iterating towards a theory that accurately reflects the data. The comparison of emergent themes and theories with the literature is crucial, given the limited number of cases which can be studied. Building theories from case studies relies on theoretical as opposed to statistical sampling.
Inevitably an element of subjectivity is involved in non-random sampling. A multiple case design allows the findings to be replicated across cases; hence, the evidence from multiple cases is perceived as more compelling. A multiple-case design is appropriate when the purpose of the investigation is theory description, theory building or theory testing. The factors dictating the choice of the research design, whether single or multiple case, will guide the choice of site.
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Within the positivist paradigm the case study can be viewed as an experiment. While it is not a randomised experiment, the logic in relation to generalisability is the same, and the investigator expects the same outcome from either the experiment or the case, provided that all the variables of interest are replicated. Cases may be selected for literal replication, for which the investigator expects similar outcomes, or for their differences with respect to the variables of interest, and for these the investigator expects contradictory outcomes theoretical replication.
Either way the reliability of the findings is enormously amplified when both types of cases form part of the research design. There is now a de facto standard for evaluating case study research within the positivist tradition Benbasat et al. This tradition acknowledges the importance of the three criteria of validity internal for causality, external for generalisability , reliability, and replication. The case study relies on multiple sources of evidence and multiple data collection methods.
Each source has advantages and disadvantages and all complement each other, so that it is recommended that multiple sources of evidence be used and triangulated Yin, , p. Triangulation enhances both validity and reliability. Within-case and cross-case analysis, cross-case pattern-matching and tying the emergent theory with the literature enhance internal and external validity. Internal validity is concerned with the issue of causality — do the factors claimed to drive the observed outcomes actually cause them or are they themselves caused by other factors?
External validity refers to the generalisation of the findings beyond the case. Reliability demonstrates that the procedure can be replicated with the same results, and is dealt with by making as many steps as explicit as possible, and clearly displaying the evidence, so that the process can be audited. The idea is to analyse the evidence objectively, eliminate alternative interpretations, and produce a compelling case. The reader should be able to follow the derivation of any evidence from the initial research question to the conclusions of the study, as this chain of evidence will improve the reliability of the findings Yin, Lee discusses four problems resulting from applying the natural science model to MIS case research.
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Making controlled observations in a real-world setting. As no manipulation of variables is possible in natural settings, the researcher has to capitalise on naturally occurring variations in the variables.
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Making controlled deductions. Markus deals with the problem by making verbally expressed predictions based on different verbally expressed theories. Achieving replicability from real-world settings which rely on observations which are unique and non-replicable.
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Generalisability - how to extend and apply the finding from one case to other settings, given that the phenomena observed are unique and non-replicable. The use of the case study method in building and testing theory has been extensively discussed and analysed in MIS literature. A consensus has formed that MIS research need not be quantitative in order to be regarded as scientific, and there is now an established methodology for conducting case study research within the positivist paradigm.
The research project This section introduces the research project and discusses the research design and process. The research project looked for evidence in support of the EMH in the steel industry, where it was also predicted that the advent of electronic marketplaces would lead to the disintermediation of the middlemen, the steel trading companies.
Spot market is defined as business which is not under short or long-term contract. An electronic marketplace allows its users to identify and select potential partners and conclude business online. Opinions differ whether an electronic marketplace needs to support all three functions of identification, selection and execution to qualify as an electronic marketplace. E-Steel and MetalSite were the first to announce plans to broaden their geographical reach and service offering. These plans never came to fruition.
Business Cases (Case Study Method)
This study stimulated the intellectual curiosity of the lead author; hence, the research project began with data rather than theory Lampel, As a participant observer the lead author had unlimited access to relevant information throughout the duration of the project. She continued to work in the steel trading industry during the project; hence, the decisions made with respect to the case selection and research design flowed from her immediate working experience and access to industry professionals. The research process started with the formulation of the research question.
A review of the extant literature suggested a number of variables which might affect the viability of electronic marketplaces. The lead author organised the motifs which emerged in various papers in a coherent argument and tentative conceptual framework the Model. She formulated the working hypotheses, and, based on the working hypotheses, made verbally expressed predictions to be tested in the fieldwork.
Thus, the fieldwork features all the variables tentatively identified as determinants of e-marketplace viability. The Model is tested and refined through the fieldwork and recommended for further testing in other industry settings. The study features multiple cases and multiple levels of analysis within a single case firm vs. The author discusses the product characteristics and the structure of the.
The selection of cases relies on theoretical sampling. The cases were chosen from a larger sample because of their characteristics, and the variables of interest are clearly observable. The deciding factor, however, is accessibility. In this sense, the selection of cases is partly opportunistic, and allows the lead author to rely on participant observation Lee, ; Yin, The final research design features seven cases. The experience of other electronic marketplaces is incorporated by reference in this study.
The seven cases are presented in Table 1.
The first three cases investigate the prime market for steel products, in which the steel is made to order and to the specifications of the particular buyer. Good research design is an iterative, not a linear process Lampel, The initial research design featured two cases, both representing attempts at launching an electronic marketplace allowing onestop shopping in the prime market.
Later it seemed appropriate to add a descriptive case at the beginning, which would serve as an introduction and provide the reader with an understanding of the dynamics of international steel trading. Thus, the research design was enhanced to feature three cases, all set against the background of the prime steel market. Table 1: The seven cases Market The prime market.
The three cases are conceptually distinct and stand-alone, yet related. Whereas case one constitutes a reflection upon the business dynamics and processes of international steel trading, case two tests the hypothesis and also represents a meta-evaluation of the feasibility study in which the lead author had participated. Case three also tests the hypotheses, and the investigator expects a similar outcome literal replication.
The remainder of the fieldwork is concerned with the secondary market for steel products. The researcher can test the hypotheses in a different setting the secondary market , and expect a contradictory outcome theoretical replication. Later the opportunity arose for the lead author to utilise the services of two electronic marketplaces to dispose of reject parcels. She gained valuable insight into the workings of online auctions. Vissak, T. The Qualitative Report , 15 2 , To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately, you may Download the file to your hard drive.
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Business Research Methods Case Studies | Case Study | Business, Management Case Studies
Business Cases Case Study Method. Y56 Recognized as one of the most cited methodology books in the social sciences, the Sixth Edition of Robert K. Yin's bestselling text provides a complete portal to the world of case study research. With the integration of 11 applications in this edition, the book gives readers access to exemplary case studies drawn from a wide variety of academic and applied fields.
Case Study Methods in Business Research
Ultimately, Case Study Research and Applications will guide students in the successful use and application of the case study research method. Learning with cases by J. David M. Wood, Michiel R.