Seizing the Opportunity: Using Availability Samples in Policy Programs for Creating Relevance in Broader Contexts


  • Lien Beck et al


field research, external validity, induction, statistical generalization, theoretical generalization


There is a growing interest within research in management studies to regard ‘organizational practice’ as a highly relevant field of empirical observation. Planned change projects turn out to be promising platforms for theorizing about practice, theory testing, and the innovation and improvement of organizational practices. However, natural contexts can also seriously limit the possibility to transfer the outcomes to broader contexts. Both external and construct validity are evidently a matter of serious concern in this kind of research. Field researchers are placed for difficult assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their data set. What is the richness and added value of the data, what are the flaws that limit their value for other contexts, and what can be done to reduce the potential threats to external and construct validity? The present paper offers a practical roadmap that leads field researchers through a number of basic design considerations. The steps in the roadmap are illustrated by examples from a large‑scale strategic development program for SMEs in the Euregion Meuse‑and‑Rhine.



1 Dec 2010