The Need for a Phenomenological Perspective in International Business Studies: Different Philosophies of Science and Their Consequences

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International business (IB) studies revolve around two key perspectives defined as a firm-specific perspective and a generic perspective that combined to provide a company with crucial insights into how to enter and navigate in foreign markets. Such a combined approach provides a company with a holistic perception of what kind of resources and capabilities it needs before entering and operating in specific markets. The key issue here is how to design a research approach that provides the data that make a researcher capable of developing an explanatory framework for how to engage such markets. Before looking for appropriate research methodologies and tools for data collection, there is a need for a pertinent philosophy of science. This chapter discusses three different philosophies of science each one capable of providing the analyst with a specific take on how to “think” data. Arguably, whatever approach one selects, the choice has an impact on the outcome of the research process. After selecting a specific philosophy of science, the chapter applies it on an analysis of the Danish shipping company Maersk. The focus is on how employees at headquarters and selected overseas subsidiaries “read” the global corporate culture and navigate within the company for own and organizational benefit. This chapter discusses the ramifications of selecting one philosophy of science over another when engaging in qualitative or quantitative research in an IB context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdapting to Environmental Challenges : New Research in Strategy and International Business
EditorsTorben Juul Andersen, Simon Sunn Torp
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781839824777
ISBN (Electronic)9781839824760, 9781839824784
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesEmerald Studies in Global Strategic Responsiveness


  • Employees
  • Global corporate culture
  • International business
  • Phenomenology
  • Positivism
  • Structuralism
  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Maersk

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