Simon C. Collinson and Andrew M. Pettigrew
The comparative method lies at the heart of social science research. In the field of international business it is national and regional diversity, the differences between places that influence business activities and management behaviour, that matter. This diversity demands adaptability in individuals and organizations, in response to cultural, social, political, institutional, environmental, economic, industrial, and market variety. This article examines the problems of comparative international research (CIR) in business and management studies. The literature on CIR methods over the past thirty years, whilst stressing the importance of robust methodologies, has been particularly critical of the widespread failure of researchers to avoid the pitfalls of poorly constructed cross-national comparisons.
Janne Tienari and Alexei Koveshnikov
In this chapter, we revisit influential texts on the management of multinational corporations from the perspective of men and masculinities. We argue that the texts (re)construct an idealized image of management based on problematic assumptions. They carry meanings far beyond the openness and cultural sensitivity which they claim to advocate. We identify these assumptions and disrupt the masculine image of managing multinationals.
Methodological Contributions in International Business and the Direction of Academic Research Activity
The development of the field of international business has been strongly driven by innovations in research design and methodologies. This article emphasizes this role in order to suggest that progress is engaged when a community collectively is able to ride upon common methods, schemas, and templates. Research in international business has contributed its own methodological and design that served as a template for subsequent efforts. This article documents briefly three contributions: Raymond Vernon's multinational database, foreign direct investment studies, and the choice of foreign entry mode. It turns then to two current areas of research (i.e. organizational ecology and comparative national systems) that might benefit from agreement on design and method. In focusing on these contributions, it neglects other major contributions to international business research, especially that of business history that has indisputably created successful research programmes with defined methodologies.
Randall Morck and Bernard Yeung
This article focuses on performance measures. It starts with the usual focus on profitability and market value as performance measures, followed by alternative performance measures based on firm productivity, growth and survival. It then discusses issues on survey data, and the problem of ex post reasoning in empirical work. There are several important themes in this discussion. First, it discusses the definitional and variable construction issues. Second, it addresses the analytical contents in these variables as performance measures. Third, it highlights the statistical and empirical difficulties in using these performance measures, especially in an international cross-country context.