Inderscience Publishers

On the ubiquitous inadequacy of co-variation design in strategy research

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This paper criticises the ubiquitous use of co-variation design in strategy research in which constructs are correlated across temporal and conceptual distances or gaps. It is argued that such design yields puny results and inconsequential knowledge about strategy phenomena. Several illustrative studies from the strategy literature are analysed to show the inadequacy of their design and the poverty of their findings. To supersede this design, the paper proposes a process approach, in which the transformation of constructs is monitored within and across organisations. The benefits of this approach are listed and exemplified in the case of the R&D performance connection. Benefits to constructs such as configurations are also listed. The paper concludes by asserting that for progress to occur in strategy research, new theories and concepts are not needed. Existing constructs can and should be used, but in a different methodology process approach.

Keywords: co-variation design, processes, configurations, research methodology, knowledge

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