Mitigating theoretical and coverage biases in the design of theory-building research: An example from international entrepreneurship

Romeo V. Ţurcan, Markus M. Mäkelä, Olav J. Sørensen, Mikko Rönkkö

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we advance a three-stage theory-building framework to assist scholars in addressing theoretical and coverage biases by means of the appropriate design of cross-domain theory-building research. In our discussion, we use an example from research in international entrepreneurship, which has been emerging as a cross-domain area for the entrepreneurship and international business research communities since the mid-1990s. Theoretical bias can stem from the situation where the conceptualisation of a phenomenon whose research is currently emerging and depends upon several of the established disciplines of social science and their sub-domains, is in fact dominated by the theoretical approaches of a single domain. As to the coverage bias, the somewhat novel research domain of international entrepreneurship provides us with a means to illustrate how research in an emerging domain tends to focus on positive growth only and rarely takes appropriately into account companies that fare less well; for instance, accounting for survivor bias would require that scholars carefully acknowledge firms that go out of business for one reason or another. Observations from a longitudinal, multiple-case study research on the de-internationalisation of small high-technology firms is used to exemplify the structure of our framework.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)399-417
    Number of pages19
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Building theory
    • Coverage bias
    • De-internationalisation
    • International entrepreneurship
    • Theoretical bias


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