In this September edition of the Hedda monthly literature tips series, we asked Hilde W. Afdal (University of Oslo / Østfold University College) and Jelena Brankovic (CHEGG, Ghent University) about their recent literature tips.
Here are their recommendations:
This article by Ivar Bleiklie takes a methodological perspective, discussing comparative organizational studies. Articles that take a specific methodological focus are not very common, and as such the contribution is highly needed in the field. The focus is mainly (but not only) on studies that compare organizations in different national settings. To begin with, Bleiklie discusses advantage and challenges of international comparative research in general. Secondly, he develops a typology of approaches to comparative research (based on earlier attempts to develop such), distinguishing between meaningful interpretation of single cases, juxtapositions, thematic comparison, identifying causal relations, and grand theories. The five approaches are illuminated by examples of empirical studies representing each approach.
In his discussion, three main arguments are highlighted about comparative research strategies. Firstly, the approaches above are not mutually exclusive, and a wide range of studies representing and overlapping the strategies is needed. Still, the choice of strategy need to be argued for. Secondly, the issue of generalization is more complex then usually disused in international comparative studies and need to be dealt with thoroughly according to the aim of the specific approach. In continuance of this, he finally argue for a need of more carefully conceptual development in comparative studies to avoid “conceptual stretching” which may lead to vague and amorphous research outcomes. (more…)