Christian Thauer
Freie Universität Berlin



(Thursday, 24th May 2012)

Title : Case Study Analyses in the Field of Business and Politics

The workshop discusses the value of qualitative case study analyses in the field of business and politics. We will first explore the usefulness, advantages and limits of qualitative case study methods (in comparison with large-n quantitative analyses). We will then address issues of research design, and ask how to conduct systematic comparative case study analyses (x-centered or y-centered, process tracing etc.). Finally, we discuss field research strategies (participant observation, semi-structured interviews, methods of triangulation etc.). The main example the workshop will draw on is the application of transaction cost economics to the study of corporate social responsibility.

Note about the references below : The first text by George and Bennett is a good introduction to the methodological issues we will address. The two remaining texts illustrate two fundamentally different approaches to case study analyses: x-centered and y-centered comparative designs. The main text of reference is Thauer, Goodness Comes From Within.

Bibliographical references :

George, A. and A. Bennett (2004): Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 151-179 (Ch. 8).

Must read reference : Thauer, C. (2012). Goodness Comes From Within. Intra-organizational Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility, Business and Society (in print).

Thauer, C. A Diffusion of Standards? Intra-organizational Determinants of Industry Sector Dynamics. Paper presented at ISA San Diego.