PAGE 30 j JOURNAL OF BUSINESS STRATEGY j VOL 33 NO 1 2012 Downloaded by

Page 30 j journal of business strategy j vol 33 no 1

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PAGE 30 j JOURNAL OF BUSINESS STRATEGY j VOL. 33 NO. 1 2012 Downloaded by Loughborough University At 17:41 03 January 2017 (PT)
Methodology and data Choice of method This study employs a case study approach. The adoption of this approach is based on the function of the research questions that have been addressed. The drivers for expansion of international retailers are still understudied, and these issues require more theory building. A qualitative case study approach is particularly suitable when the aim is to understand the ‘how’ questions in the decision making process (Eisenhardt, 1989). The case study research undertaken here serves to develop theory on the contingent factors that influence the performance of post-entry firms. Research design and data collection Given the research questions and theoretical concerns in this paper, a multiple case research design has been adopted. Cases are treated as independent experiments for theoretical replication and pattern matching (Yin, 2003). Five retailers were chosen: Wal-Mart (American), Carrefour (French), Metro (German), Tesco (British), and Heivado (Japanese) with the following rationale: First, these retailers represent the major formats foreign retailers transferred into China: supermarket (Wal-Mart), hypermarket (Carrefour), and wholesale-club (Metro), mainly adopted by European and North American retailers, and department store (Heiwado), mainly adopted by Asian retailers (Wang, 2003). Second, the chosen cases include the four leading foreign retail giants in China: Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Metro and Tesco (Wang et al. , 2007), and they are very large retail organisations by international sales worldwide (Dawson, 2007). Third, access was an important factor in selection of these cases. This UK based study on China’s market by a native Chinese researcher benefited from having access to both Chinese and British managers from the five companies mentioned above as well as other key experts in China. The overall research design allows the author to analyse what factors influence foreign retailers’ expansion and improve our understanding on firm internationalisation for both successful and non-successful firms. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted in 2005 with senior managers at regional and national levels who were responsible for or thoroughly understood the expansion decisions in China, The interview questions focused on chosen firms’ internationalization process in China from 1995. Moreover, expert views were sought from China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA) and a major company supplying retailers. These senior managers were considered as ‘‘elite informants’’ of these companies (Yin, 2003). Interviews with Chinese managers and officials were conducted in Mandarin Chinese; those with foreign managers in English. The duration of each interview extended up to two hours. Note making and an immediate transcript were prepared immediately after each interview to ensure fresh memory of the conversations (Whyte, 1994).

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