Divided by a Common Language? Transnational Insights into Epistemological and Methodological Approaches to Strategic Management Research in English-Speaking Countries

Alan Pilkington, Thomas C. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this study, we examine what is important to strategic management researchers in different countries and investigate whether or not there is a demarcation between North American-based scholars and those established elsewhere in the native English-speaking world. We advance data in support of the argument that there is a difference of approach to strategic management research between scholars and leading journals based in North America (USA and Anglophone Canada), compared with the rest of the world. We further argue that this has implications for strategic management teaching and practice. Our analysis of strategy research in the leading journals of the strategic and general management field found that - at a methodological level - North American-based scholars and journals have a quantitative, statistically-driven partiality, whereas scholars and journals based elsewhere in the English-speaking world favor qualitative, case-based research. At an epistemological level, North American research displays a managerialist inclination, concerned with improving the management of organizations. In contrast, research conducted in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK in particular exhibits a sociological partiality, interested in scrutinizing organizational meaning and social interactions. The implications may be evidenced in a more critical perspective on general management development and practice in these countries, and a performance optimizing approach in North America.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)299-311
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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