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Reflections on Choosing the Appropriate Level of Abstraction in Social Science Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 June 2015

Johann Peter Murmann
Affiliation:
UNSW Australia Business School, Australia
Corresponding
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Abstract

Although researchers often do it subconsciously, every explanation involves choosing a level of abstraction at which the argument proceeds. The dominant North American style of research in Organization Theory, Strategy, and International Business encourages researchers to frame their explanations at the highest level of abstraction where country-level contextual factors are suppressed or ignored. Yet to provide powerful explanations for recent developments in China, researchers are drawn to a greater level of context specificity. This tension is evident in the Child and Marinova (2014) paper. One way to reduce the tension is to identify general causal mechanisms that combine in different ways to produce different results depending on context. This research strategy is more effective than seeking invariant, general patterns of development across all times and places.

摘要

摘要

尽管研究者都是潜意识而为之,他们在论述解释问题时都进行了不同程度的抽象。组织理论、战略和国际贸易中主流的北美研究范式,都鼓励研究者最大程度地抽象他们的论述,与此同时却压制或忽略了国家层面的情境因素的影响。但是为了充分地解释中国近期的发展,研究者都执着于高水平的情境特性。这种矛盾体现在Child和Marinova(2014)的文章中。减少这种矛盾的一种方法是发现一些普遍的因果机制,采用不同的方式结合这些机制,从而根据情境产生不同的结果。这种研究策略比寻求不随时间和地点变化的、普遍的发展模式更为有效。

Type
Forum Commentaries
Copyright
Copyright © International Association for Chinese Management Research 2014

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References

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