Under a Magnifying Glass: On the Use of Experiments in Strategy Research


Strategic Organization

A paraître

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise

Mots clés : causal inference, experiments, decision making, behavioral strategy, apophenia, microfoundations

The rate at which experimental studies are published in the field of strategy has steadily increased over the past few years. Still, experimental papers account for only a small fraction of strategy papers. This may not come as a surprise given the skepticism surrounding the experimental method, which is often seen as uninterested in establishing external validity, and too “micro” for a field in which the level of analysis is primarily organizational and inter-organizational. Is this skepticism founded? To what extent can experiments be a useful tool for strategy research? To answer this question, we start by examining experimental strategy papers published between 1980 and 2016. Results from the analysis alleviate doubts about the suitability of experimental methods for the study of questions of strategic interest to firms. We next discuss the main advantagesassociated with the use of experiments and why they make strategy an exciting field in which to be an experimentalist today