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The Finnish Doctoral Programme in Business Studies


Professor Rebecca Piekkari, Aalto University School of Business, FIN-00100 Helsinki, Finland
E-mail: rebecca.piekkari@aalto.fi

Rebecca Piekkari is Professor of International Business at the Aalto University, School of Business (formerly Helsinki School of Economics) in Finland. She has published on qualitative research methods, particularly on the use of case studies in international business. Her most recent book entitled ‘Rethinking the Case Study in International Business and Management Research’ was co-edited with Catherine Welch and published by Edward Elgar in May 2011. Rebecca’s teaching and research focus on international management, particularly on control, coordination and communication issues in multinational corporations. During the past few years, she has developed a special interest in multilingual organisations and the challenges associated with managing people in such organisations. Rebecca has worked as Visiting Professor and researcher at several well-known business schools and universities such as INSEAD, University of Leeds, University of Sheffield, University of Sydney and Copenhagen Business School.

Senior Lecturer Catherine Welch, The University of Sydney Business School, Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia
E-mail: catherine.welch@sydney.edu.au http://sydney.edu.au/business/staff/catherinew

Catherine Welch is a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the University of Sydney. She has a longstanding interest in qualitative research methods, and at the moment her research lies in applying process approaches to the study of firm internationalization. Together with Rebecca Piekkari, she has edited two volumes on qualitative research published by Edward Elgar: Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for International Business (2004) and Rethinking the Case Study in International Business and Management Research (2011). She has published on numerous aspects of doing qualitative research, including interviewing, writing up and the case study. She and her co-authors have published their work on the case study in Organizational Research Methods, Journal of International Business Studies and Industrial Marketing Management. She has taught PhD-level courses on the case study in five countries.



The purpose of this course is to introduce doctoral students from Europe and around the world to the diversity of ways of conducting case study research and to improve their own research practice. It aims to provide an overview of recent trends and debates on the case study in management and organization research.

This course will focus on issues that are often left out of methodology courses and training, notably: What are the different views on the theoretical contribution that a case study can make, and what lies behind these differences? As researchers, how can we theorize from case studies? How do ontological and epistemological assumptions affect views about case study quality and design? What is the ‘disciplinary convention’ regarding the case study in your own field of research, and why does it matter? What are your options when writing up your case study for publication? What are the current trends in case research in top management journals? What can management researchers learn from case study trends in other fields, such as political science? Detailed lecture notes and handouts will be provided and examples from top journals will be collectively analyzed by course participants.

This course has a strong focus on the process and practice of conducting case studies which necessitates interaction with fellow students and faculty. After this course, the doctoral student will be able to evaluate case research with increased confidence and enhance his/her own case study design.



Programme will be posted soon.


The seminar is intended for doctoral students who conduct or at least are considering whether to conduct case study research and who have already passed an introductory research methods course. They will be given the opportunity to share their own research topics.



Evaluation system

  • Participation in and contribution to class discussion
  • Article analysis in pairs
  • Individual reflection paper

Course Requirements
The course consists of the following:

1. Pre-assignment:
Please find and bring to the first seminar a case study-based article you admire from an academic journal in your field. Be prepared to discuss on Day 1 a) on what basis you decided this was a case study and b) why you think this is a quality piece of research.

2. Participation (20 %)
We will assess your participation and contribution to class discussion during the course. You will score highly on participation if you show that you have read and reflected on the assigned readings, can comment meaningfully on the case study
examples that we have set, and contribute thoughtfully to class discussion and exercises.

3. Article analysis (40 %)
For this task, you will be required to submit a report written with a fellow student that analyses how the case methodology is used and reported in one of the case study examples discussed in class (about 1500 words). (Due date to be annoaunced)
Your assignment should address the following question: How would you characterize the case study approach taken in the paper? What lessons do you draw from this example for your own writing and reporting?
In addressing these questions, you should apply, and show an in-depth understanding of, the key concepts and issues discussed in the course.

4. Reflection paper (40 %)
For this task, you will be required to submit a written reflection paper (of 8-10 pages double-spaced) that discusses what you have gained from the seminars for your own PhD research. Depending on your stage in the PhD research, your assignment should address the following questions (not necessarily in this order):
- How would you characterize your own case study approach?
- What is the theoretical purpose of your case study?
- What do you regard as the key methodological influences on your case study approach?
- In the light of the course material, how would you argue for the methodological choices (e.g. number of cases, data sources, data analysis, ways of reporting) that you have made/intend to make in your case study?
- How does your case study compare to the disciplinary convention in your field?
- Has your view on the case study changed as an outcome of the course?
- Any other issues that you regard as relevant and important for this reflection paper?
(Due date for the assignment will be announced)

6 ECTS will be assigned upon completion of the seminar


Interested doctoral students should register online (and add the required documents) no later than September 29, 2014. Besides doctoral students, other researchers may participate. The number of participants will be limited to create a stimulating environment. The selection among the applicants will be conducted by the Institute’s Faculty. They will review the following documents which should necessarily complement each application form:

  • the applicant’s curriculum vitae demonstrating his/her capabilities of doing research ;
  • a letter of recommendation of his/her local faculty supporting the application ;
  • a two-page description of his/her doctoral research, indicating the general objectives.


The seminar will be held at the Aalto University School of Business, Helsinki, Finland.
The programme will start on December 1, 2014 and is scheduled to end December 5, 2014

The normal participation fee for an EDEN seminar is 1.100€.
Thanks to the generous support of the Kataja  in Finland, we are able to offer a considerable reduction.

Finnish doctoral students

Free of Charge

Non-Finnish Doctoral Students 400 Euros

This fee covers participation to the seminar, the course materials, lunches as well as two group dinners.
It does not include travel, accommodation and any additional expenses.

Cancellations made before November 10, 2014 will be reimbursed with 10% deduction of the total fee. No reimbursement will be possible after this date.

Participants will have to cover their own hotel accommodation.
A list of recommended hotels accommodation in Helsinki will be posted:




For more information, please contact:
Ms. Nina Payen
Tel: +32 2 226 66 61 - Fax: +32 2 512 19 29
Email: payen@eiasm.be