FIELD RESEARCH METHODS IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: CONTRIBUTIONS TO THEORY BUILDING AND TESTING*

Authors


  • *

    The original version of this article was presented at the conference on Theory Building in Strategic Management, University of Illinois, 15–16 May 1990. We thank the conference participants for their ideas and suggestions. Subsequently, the article benefited from the comments of Rocki-Lee DeWitt, Dennis Gioia, Reuben McDaniel, Alan Meyer, Raymond Miles, Howard Thomas, and Edward Zajac. We are especially grateful to Shawn Clark and David Ketchen, who provided both research and editorial assistance, and the two journal reviewers for their insights.

Address for reprints: Charles C. Snow, the Pennsylvania State University, the Smeal College of Business Administration, Dept. of Management and Organization, 411 Beam Business Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA.

ABSTRACT

This article discusses the contributions that field methods have made to the theory-development process in strategic management. Field studies drawn from the literature are classified according to their research goal (description, explanation, or prediction) and according to whether they built or tested theory. the overall conclusion is that field research methods will continue to be used heavily to develop strategy theory. However, certain conditions must be met to maximize the contribution of field methods to strategy research. These conditions include a balanced research agenda, multifaceted research approaches, innovative datagathering techniques, and an applied futuristic orientation.

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