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The study relied on multiple case studies using a retrospective perspective in order to contribute to the academic topic of subsidiary internationalization processes. The defined qualitative research method therefore not only corresponds to the relatively unexplored research topic but is also in line with the note of Blankenburg Holm et al. (2009: 4) on peripheral internationalization processes in modern MNCs that “future research should study these issues empirically, preferably through case study methodologies and/or with longitudinal designs”. Throughout the preparatory work for the research endeavor the investigator was strongly inspired by the work of Pauwels, Lommelen and Matthyssens (2004) that analyzed the internationalization processes of service companies and thereby also relied on multiple case studies with a retrospective research perspective. In addition to having the same unit of analysis, namely internationalization processes, as well as a predominately dynamic study perspective, the work of Pauwels et al. (2004) further exhibited a similar number of cases as well as a clear focus on semi-structured interviews with key process stakeholders as the primary data source for the study. Moreover, from their experience a comprehensive guideline for multiple case study work was elaborated (Pauwels & Matthyssens, 2004) that turned out to be very helpful in defining the basic architecture of the study and in executing the data collection and analysis undertaking.
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