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Designing for impact: the effect of rigor and case study design on citations of qualitative case studies in management

  • Bareerah Hafeez HooraniEmail author
  • Lakshmi Balachandran Nair
  • Michael Gibbert
Article

Abstract

One of the most highly cited papers in management is Eisenhardt’s (Acad Manag Rev 14(4):532–550, 1989) piece on the importance of case study research, in particular multiple cases (versus single cases), for theory building. We focus on this distinction between multiple versus single cases in the context of rigor and impact of management case studies (N = 173) published during the period 1996–2006 in Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. We find that this distinction of multiple versus single only crudely captures the reality of case study designs in published article. For this we propose an alternative empirical classification of case study design that is replication and non-replication, in which case studies using a replication logic either in single cases (e.g. comparing teams within an organization, where the case is the organization) or, indeed, multiple cases (e.g. comparing teams across multiple organizations) are more rigorous and also more impactful than cases who do not use replication logic. However, unlike in quantitative research, rigor is not a driver of article citations in qualitative studies. In this regard, our finding makes important contributions to scientrometric research by discussing criteria under which different case study designs can be rigorous and impactful.

Keywords

Case study Rigor Replication logic Qualitative research Citations 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the two anynomous reviewers and the Editor in Chief Wolfgang Glänzel for their time and effort in providing us with constructive comments on our manuscript. We also would like to thank participants of the British Academy of Management (BAM) 2018 conference for providing suggestions on an earlier draft of this manuscript, which also won the Best paper award in the Research Methodology Division. The funding for this project was provided by the Swiss National Foundation (Grant No. 165634).

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bareerah Hafeez Hoorani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lakshmi Balachandran Nair
    • 2
  • Michael Gibbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Università Della Svizzera ItalianaLuganoSwitzerland
  2. 2.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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