The Use of Vignette Experiments in Business Strategy Research

The Use of Vignette Experiments in Business Strategy Research

Stefan Linder (ESSEC Business School, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4753-4.ch005
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Scholars in business strategy research often face the challenge of obtaining the necessary empirical data to test causal relationships that form the foundation for many practitioner-oriented recommendations. About two decades ago, Priem (1992) and Priem and Harrison (1994) provided compelling introductions to and called for using vignette experiments to overcome this impasse. Yet, little is known on vignette experiments’ actual use in business strategy research. In this chapter, a search of past applications suggests little overall use, yet a broad diversity in both the themes studied with vignettes and the ways the vignettes were used by scholars. These findings suggest that a number of open methodological issues likely have hampered more common use of the method so far.
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Vignette Experiments

Vignettes are the foundation for a family of closely related, yet slightly differing methods – some strongly experimental and providing a sound basis for inferring causality, others only to a lesser degree, and yet others not allowing causal inferences at all. The members of this family are referred to under various names in literature but can broadly be classified into (1) full factorial vignette experiments which are also referred to as full factorial survey (Rossi & Anderson, 1982; Taylor, 2006), or orthogonal policy-capturing studies, (2a) (reduced) fractional vignette experiments (aka: fractional factorial surveys) using an experimental plan as selection basis, (2b) (reduced) random selection factorial vignette experiments, (3) non-orthogonal policy-capturing or non-orthogonal social judgment studies, and (4) single-scenario studies.

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