Marrying History and Social Science in Strategy Research

Item Type Journal paper

Purpose – This chapter is intended to encourage comparative-historical research in strategy by articulating a framework for the study of industry and firm evolution.
Design/methodology/approach – Strategy research at its core tries to explain sustained performance differences among firms. This chapter argues that one, out of the many ways to create a productive marriage between strategy research and historical scholarship, is to carry out historically informed comparative studies of how firms and industries gain and lose their competitive position. While much of current strategy research adopts a large N hypothesis testing mode with the implicit assumption that one discovers generalization just like a Newtonian law such as F=m×a that applies across all space and time, an historically grounded methodology starts from the opposite direction. It assumes that a process or event may be idiosyncratic and therefore seeks to establish with detailed evidence that a 2nd (and later 3rd, 4th, … nth) process or event is indeed similar before generalizing across observations.
Findings/originality/value – The chapter argues that the field of strategy would benefit from allocating more effort on building causal generalizations inductively from well-researched case studies, seeking to establish the boundary conditions of emerging generalizations. It articulates a comparative research program that outlines such an approach for the arena of industry and firm evolution studies.

Authors Murmann, Johann P.; Kahl, Steven; Silverman, Brian & Cusumano, Michael
Journal or Publication Title History and Strategy
Language English
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date 2012
Publisher Emerald Publishing Limited
Volume 29
Page Range 89-116
Number of Pages 27
ISSN 0742-3322
Publisher DOI 10.1108/S0742-3322%282012%290000029008
Official URL
Contact Email Address
Depositing User Michele Kölbener
Date Deposited 17 Oct 2018 12:53
Last Modified 25 Oct 2018 07:40


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Murmann, Johann P.; Kahl, Steven; Silverman, Brian & Cusumano, Michael (2012) Marrying History and Social Science in Strategy Research. History and Strategy, 29 89-116. ISSN 0742-3322

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