Three pathways to case selection in International Business: a twenty–year review, analysis and synthesis

Fletcher, M., Zhao, Y., Plakoyiannaki, E. and Buck, T. (2018) Three pathways to case selection in International Business: a twenty–year review, analysis and synthesis. International Business Review, 27(4), pp. 755-766. (doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2017.12.004)

154957.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



With its focus on locational context, International Business (IB) is a prime candidate for the application of Case Study (CS) methodology. Yet many IB scholars still have doubts about CSs, possibly because strategies for their selection and disclosure procedures may lack rigor. The purpose of this article is to document and discuss CS selection in IB research, make suggestions for improvement, and thus raise the standard and status of CS research. Using qualitative content analysis, this paper examines CS selection strategies in four IB journals (1995–2014), relating them to chosen theoretical purposes and logics employed. Our results indicate that 12% of the 333 investigated CS articles lacked a section on methodology, and 41% of papers reported no indication of how CSs were selected. Drawing insights from the dataset, we propose and distinguish between theory-driven and phenomenon-driven CS selection approaches. In light of our evidence, best-practice papers are identified and apportioned to coherent pathways connecting theoretical purpose, logic and CS selection strategies. In doing so, we address the link between case selection and theorizing in CSs and advocate greater methodological sophistication and transparency of CS selection reporting in IB research.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project received funding from the British Academy.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fletcher, Professor Margaret and Buck, Professor Trevor
Authors: Fletcher, M., Zhao, Y., Plakoyiannaki, E., and Buck, T.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Business Review
ISSN (Online):1873-6149
Published Online:30 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier
First Published:First published in International Business Review 27(4): 755-766
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record