Achieving accuracy, generalization-to-contexts, and complexity in theories of business-to-business decision processes

Woodside, AG
Baxter, R
Item type
Journal Article
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

This article describes field research methods that provide advances in developing accurate theories of business-to-business (B2B) decision processes. The article supports and extends prior work by Woodside (2010) that bridging qualitative and quantitative research method is possible to achieve accuracy, complexity, and generality across cases in B2B decision processes. As an aid in doing so, the article argues for the study of a few (n = 5 to 50) cases via case study research (CSR). The article defines CSR, and describes several CSR theories and methods that are useful for describing, explaining, and forecasting processes occurring in business-to-business (B2B) contexts. The discussion includes summaries of six B2B case studies spanning more than 60 years of research. This article advocates embracing the view that isomorphic theory of realities of B2B processes is possible via advances in CSR methods. The discussion advocates rejecting the dominant logic of attempting to describe and explain B2B processes by arms-length fixed-point surveys that usually involve responses from one executive per firm with no data-matching of firms in specific B2B relationships—such surveys lack details and accuracy necessary for understanding, describing, and forecasting B2B processes.

Business-to-business relationship , Case study research , Ethnographic decision tree model , Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis , Degrees-of-freedom analysis
Industrial Marketing Management, vol.42(3), pp.382 - 393
Publisher's version
Rights statement
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in (see Citation). Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. The definitive version was published in (see Citation). The original publication is available at (see Publisher's Version).