Journal of management (in press)

Author: Boyd, B.K., Haynes, K.T., Hitt., M.A., Bergh, D.D.,  & Ketchen, D.J. 


Title: Contingency hypotheses in strategic management research: Use, disuse, or misuse?


The answer to many strategic management research questions is often summarized as ‘It depends.’  Faced with marginal results of many main effect hypothesis tests of one variable on another variable, strategy researchers began developing contingency hypotheses that explored more nuanced relationships involving multiple variables.  Herein, we examine the development of contingency thinking in strategic management via a review of all empirical papers published in Strategic Management Journal from its inception in 1980 through 2009.  Using Venkatraman’s (1989) framework, we identify all contingency studies within this sample.  Our analysis reveals that, while contingency hypotheses are becoming more common, there is less diversity in the way the effects are tested.  Additionally, while the framing of contingency hypotheses has become more sophisticated over time, there remain many opportunities for methodological improvements.  Based on this content analysis, we offer both theoretical and methodological guidelines for future strategic management studies.

Keywords: Contingency theory

strategic management

Research methods

Resources:  Click here for reprint.

Click here for powerpoint slides from CARMA webcast on contingency modeling