The case study in family business: current perspectives and suggestions for the future

T. Leppäaho, Maria Emmanouela Plakoyiannaki, K. Kampouri, Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki

Despite the potential of qualitative case research (QCR) to embrace novel research questions and practices, it is frequently reduced to a single methodological template, namely that of qualitative positivism. The authors review and analyze case study practices in family business (FB), drawing insights from 88 articles published across various academic outlets. Their results indicate the impact of the positivistic template as the most commonly used one with 75 articles, but interestingly, identify alternatives captured by interpretivist and critical realist perspectives. They conclude with a discussion by problematizing the use of templates in FB case research. The authors contribute in four ways. First, they discuss, deconstruct and codify case study practices drawing on exemplars from FB literature. Second, they discuss common practices among the scholars of the qualitative positivist template and explain its potential for FB scholarship. Third, they discuss and outline the potential of alternative case study perspectives of interpretivism and critical realism. Fourth, they discuss the potential of multiple methods and the epistemological alternatives for enriching all the case study practices currently used.

Department of Marketing and International Business
External organisation(s)
University of Turku
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502054 Entrepreneurship, 502016 SME-research
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