A Reviewer’s Perspective: Which Mistakes Do Authors Often Make in Qualitative International Business Research?

Part of the Management and Industrial Engineering book series (MINEN)


This chapter summarizes 20 main suggestions on which mistakes to avoid in submitting qualitative (mainly case study-based) International Business research to academic journals and books, but also to academic conferences. I developed these suggestions based on my extensive experience from reviewing and publishing articles. Some of my suggestions are directly the case study methodology- and International Business-field-related, while some others are relatively universal. Thus, they could be beneficial for scholars preferring other methodologies and focusing on other research areas as well: especially, for Ph.D. students and other less experienced scholars trying to publish their work without involving more experienced/senior co-authors. Although following all of these suggestions will not automatically guarantee success (my own articles still get rejected, too, from time to time), ignoring them could lead to rejection.



This work was supported by the Institutional Research Funding IUT20-49 of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PUT 1003. I also wish to thank the anonymous reviewer who read a very preliminary version of this text: I took some of your recommendations into account.


  1. Aguinis, H., Ramani, R. S., & Alabduljader, N. (2018). What you see is what you get? Enhancing methodological transparency in management research. Academy of Management Annals, 12(1), 83–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahlstrom, D. (2015). From the editors: Publishing in the Journal of World Business. Journal of World Business, 50(2), 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bansal, P. (T.), & Corley, K. (2012). Publishing in AMJ—Part 7: What’s different about qualitative research? Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 509–513.Google Scholar
  4. Berends, H., & Deken, F. (2020). Composing qualitative process research. Strategic Organization.
  5. Brennan, N. M. (2019). 100 research rules of the game: How to make your research world class; how to successfully publish in top international refereed journals. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 32(2), 691–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cameron, R., & Molina-Azorin, J. F. (2011). The acceptance of mixed methods in business and management research. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 19(3), 256–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, T., Wright, M., & Ketchen, D. J., Jr. (Eds.). (2016). How to get published in the best management journals. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  8. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Andersson, U., Brannen, M. Y., Nielsen, B. B., & Reuber, A. R. (2016). From the editors: Can I trust your findings? Ruling out alternative explanations in international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(8), 881–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cutts, M. (2013). Oxford guide to plain English (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. De Lange, P., Daff, L., & Jackling, B. (2018). The 11 commandments of publishing. Accounting Research Journal, 31(3), 442–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2017). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Dubois, A., & Gadde, L.-E. (2002). Systematic combining: An abductive approach to case research. Journal of Business Research, 55(7), 553–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dul, J., & Hak, T. (2008). Case study methodology in business research. Oxford, UK: Butterworth Heinemann.Google Scholar
  15. Edmonds, W. A., & Kennedy, T. D. (2017). An applied guide to research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fayolle, A., & Wright, M. (2014). How to get published in the best entrepreneurship journals. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fetters, M. D., & Molina-Azorin, J. F. (2019). A checklist of mixed methods elements in a submission for advancing the methodology of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 13(4), 414–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fusch, P. I., & Ness, L. R. (2015). Are we there yet? Data saturation in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 20(9), 1408–1416.Google Scholar
  22. Geletkanycz, M., & Tepper, B. J. (2012). Publishing in AMJ—Part 6: Discussing the implications. Academy of Management Journal, 55(2), 256–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gibbert, M., Ruigrok, W., & Wicki, B. (2008). What passes as a rigorous case study? Strategic Management Journal, 29(3), 1465–1474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology. Organizational Research Methods, 16(1), 15–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grant, A. M., & Pollock, T. G. (2011). Publishing in AMJ—Part 3: Setting the hook. Academy of Management Journal, 54(5), 873–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hurmerinta-Peltomäki, L., & Nummela, N. (2006). Mixed methods in international business research: A value-added perspective. Management International Review, 46(4), 439–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Indiana University. (2019). How to recognize plagiarism: Tutorials and tests. Accessed October 11, 2019.
  28. Jonsen, K., Fendt, J., & Point, S. (2018). Convincing qualitative research: What constitutes persuasive writing? Organizational Research Methods, 21(1), 30–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kindsiko, E., & Poltimäe, H. (2019). The poor and embarrassing cousin to the gentrified quantitative academics: What determines the sample size in qualitative interview-based organization studies? Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3), Art. 1, 1–24.Google Scholar
  30. Lange, D., & Pfarrer, M. D. (2017). Editors’ comments: Sense and structure—The core building blocks of an AMR article. Academy of Management Review, 42(3), 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mariotto, F. L., Zanni, P. P., & de Moraes, G. H. S. M. (2014). What is the use of a single-case study in management research? RAE Revista de Administracao de Empresas, 54(4), 358–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldana, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Nicholson, J. D., LaPlaca, P., Al-Abdin, A., Breese, R., & Khan, Z. (2018). What do introduction sections tell us about the intent of scholarly work: A contribution on contributions. Industrial Marketing Management, 73, 206–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Patriotta, G. (2017). Crafting papers for publication: Novelty and convention in academic writing. Journal of Management Studies, 54(5), 747–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Piekkari, R., & Welch, C. (Eds.). (2011). Rethinking the case study in international business and management research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  37. Reay, T., Zafar, A., Monteiro, P., & Glaser, V. (2019). Presenting findings from qualitative research: One size does not fit all! In T. Zilber, J. Amis, & J. Mair (Eds.), The production of managerial knowledge and organizational theory: New approaches to writing, producing and consuming theory, Research in the sociology of organizations (Vol. 59, pp. 201–216). Bingley: Emerald.Google Scholar
  38. Shepherd, D. A., & Wiklund, J. (2020). Simple rules, templates, and heuristics! An attempt to deconstruct the craft of writing an entrepreneurship paper. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice.
  39. Sheppard, J. P. (2015). Getting published: Achieving acceptance from reviewers and editors. Journal of Asia Business Studies, 9(2), 117–132.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sparrowe, R. T., & Mayer, K. J. (2011). Publishing in AMJ—Part 4: Grounding hypotheses. Academy of Management Journal, 54(6), 1098–1102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stake, R. E. (2010). Qualitative research: Studying how things work. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  42. Varadarajan, P. R. (1996). From the editor: Reflections on research and publishing. Journal of Marketing, 60(4), 3–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vissak, T. (2010). Recommendations for using the case study method in international business research. The Qualitative Report, 15(2), 370–388.Google Scholar
  44. Vissak, T., Francioni, B., & Freeman, S. (2020). Foreign market entries, exits and re-entries: The role of knowledge, network relationships and decision-making logic. International Business Review, 29(1), 101592.Google Scholar
  45. Wang, J. (2019). Becoming a responsible writer. Human Resource Development Review, 18(2), 167–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Welch, C., Piekkari, R., Plakoyiannaki, E., & Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, E. (2011). Theorising from case studies: Towards a pluralist future for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 42(5), 740–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yin, R. (2018). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  48. Zhang, Y. (A.), & Shaw, J. D. (2012). Publishing in AMJ—Part 5: Crafting the methods and results. Academy of Management Journal, 55(1), 8–12.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TartuTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations