Strategic decision-making process is a crucial part of strategy formulation and implementation. However, most inquiries into strategic decision-making process use quantitative methods. Even if there have been calls for more qualitative method for decision-making research, most researchers still predominantly use quantitative method as a main tool to find the results. This paper is aimed to challenge the dominant attitudes among strategic management scholars that only quantitative research is appropriate. The paper starts with the epistemological polemic between positivism and interpretivism before the choice between large-N and small-N samples. Then, the paper compares the advantages and disadvantages between qualitative and quantitative approaches. An overview of qualitative method, data collection and analysis, and the criteria for assessing the quality of qualitative research are given. Strategic decision-making process is an important part of strategic management. The domain of strategy research has made a significant progress since the early 1990s when many theories, such as resource-based view, organizational learning and competitive advantage have been developed . Early inquiries into corporate strategy had tended to employ qualitative cased studies of individual companies.
[...] Qualitative method is better than quantitative method when inquiring into strategic decision-making process because it can grasp the dynamic nature of decision-making. Qualitative data analysis is more flexible than quantitative data analysis, because it can be done either before or after data collection. However, rigor in qualitative method is prone to be exposed to researchers' subjectivity. Hence, qualitative researchers must be honest and recognize their biases during doing a qualitative research References Bruton, G Lohrke, F T & Lu, J The evolving definition of what comprises international strategic management research. [...]
[...] In B J Punnett & O Shenkar Handbook for international management research, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, Chapter pp 63- Berg, B Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (6th ed). Pearson Education, New York Kumar, International marketing research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Wright, L Lane, H W & Beamish, P International management research: Lessons from the field. International Studies of Management and Organization, Vol 18/3, pp 55- Vaughan, Theory elaboration: The heuristics of case analysis. In C C Ragin & H S Becker What is a case? [...]
[...] In general, positivistic researchers do not always use quantitative method However, some management scholars argue that positivistic view is inappropriate because decision-making process is not always observable in an objective way, and because social processes are rarely reducible to absolute laws. Social reality cannot be captured and quantified in formal propositions. The law-like regularities cannot be looked upon as evidence of invariant laws; the reliability and replicability criterion and external validity criterion are irrelevant . If positivistic beliefs that experimental research design should be applied to the natural and social sciences in the same way are true, scientific research will not be possible, so that strategic management, just as the rest of social science, has not yet reached the same level of scientific status as natural science 13]. [...]
[...] The main advantage of qualitative approaches is that they allow the inquirers to uncover new variables and correlations, to disclose and grasp complex processes and to exemplify the influence of social context Qualitative research is appropriate for complex and dynamic nature of strategic decision-making process Qualitative Method for Data Collection and Analysis The qualitative research method comprises multiple methods for data collection and data analysis. In some cases, qualitative data collection and analysis occur concomitantly because The principle of using multiple methods is known as data triangulation. [...]
[...] Positivist studies generally attempt to either test or modify theory, in an attempt to increase the predictive understanding of phenomena. Positivistic strategic management researchers believe that organization studies should fit the natural-science model as the only way to be scientific 13]. They conduct research with the evidence of formal propositions, quantifiable measures of variables hypothesis testing, and the drawing of inferences about a phenomenon from the sample to a stated population. Usually quantitative survey with statistical tool for data analysis is used for research into strategic decision-making process. [...]
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