Leadership and People Management

The declining share of primary data and the neglect of the individual level in international business research

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Complementing Nielsen and colleagues’ (2020) analysis of methodological trends in the Journal of International Business Studies over the past 50 years, we examine similar data on methods published in a wider range of leading international business (IB) journals. Our analysis shows a clear decline of studies based on primary data relative to secondary data, and a persistently low level of individual-level studies among the growing body of research using secondary data across all IB journals considered. We discuss the main mechanisms driving these trends and identify the problems of IB’s increasing exposure to the risks inherent in secondary data. We also discuss the implications related to neglecting individual-level data for theory advancement in IB, such as a disregard for novel secondary data opportunities at the individual level and the risk of reduced theoretical pluralism. In doing so, we substantially extend the debate initiated by Nielsen and colleagues (2020).
Bibliographic citation: CERAR, J., NELL, P., REICHE, S. (2021). The declining share of primary data and the neglect of the individual level in international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 52 (7), 1365-137. doi:10.1057/s41267-021-00451-0.

Reference: 10.1057/s41267-021-00451-0 (DOI)
Date: 01/09/2021
Author(s): Jelena Cerar; Phillip Nell; Sebastian Reiche
Document type: Article in Journal (refereed)
Department: Managing People in Organizations
Sector:
Languages: English