Quantitative Research Methods

Fall 2010

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William B. Stevenson
Fulton 430B
Office Hours: Tu 1:30-2:30, Th 11-12 or by appointment
Current syllabus is available at: www:http://www2.bc.edu/~stevenw

This is a course in quantitative methods of research.  We will consider how theories are developed and tested in organizational studies using experimental, quasi-experimental, survey research, network, and process designs.  

Course Requirements:

There will be oral presentations, research projects and a final paper.




Class Participation


Research Projects


Final Paper


Class Participation: Your attendance and participation are important for a mutually rewarding learning experience.  Each student will be asked to lead discussions of the weekly readings and “Critiques” of articles during the semester. The discussion leader and the rest of the class will be given discussion questions in advance. Here are the guidelines for the critique. Your participation grade will be based on your attendance, discussion leadership, and participation.

Research Projects: You will develop several research projects during the semester as a group and present your progress throughout the semester.

Required Reading:

Ragin, C. C. 2008. Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 0-226-70275-8 (paper)

Shadish, W.R., Cook, T.D. & Campbell, D.T. 2002. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin ISBN: 0-395-61556-9.

DeVellis, R.F. 2003 Scale Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (2nd edition) ISBN: 0-7619-2605-4 (paper).

Dillman, D.A. 2009. Internet, Mail and Mixed Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. (3rd edition), NY:John Wiley and Sons ISBN: 0-4716-9868-7.

A collection of journal articles are available online.

MB 871 Quantitative Methods Schedule

I. Theory, Causality and Organizational Research Design



Readings/Class Activities

Causal Reasoning



Shadish, ch. 1

Sloman, Steven. 2005. Ch. 2 The information is in the invariants, Ch. 3 What is a cause? in Steven Sloman Causal Models: How People Think about the World and its Alternatives NY:Oxford University Press.

Hedstrom, Peter & Swedborg, Richard. 1998. Ch. 1 Social mechanisms: An introductory essay In Peter Hedstrom and Richard Swedborg (Eds.) Social Mechanisms: An Analytical Approach to Social Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pugh, Douglas. 2001. Service with a smile: Emotional contagion in the service encounter.
Academy of Management Journal, 44(5): 1018-1027

Experiments, Quasi-Experiments and Causality



Shadish et.al.: ch. 2-5,8

Blalock, H.. Chapter 1: The measurement problem: A gap between the languages of theory and research in Methodology in Social Research.

Research Project: Proposal paragraph discussion


Survey Research



Dillman, ch. 1, 2, 12

For Discussion:

Pasmore, W. & Friedlander, F.1982. An action research program for increasing employee involvement in problem solving. Administrative Science Quarterly, 27:343-362.


Cameron, et al., 1987 Organizational effects of decline and turbulence. Administrative Science Quarterly, 32: 222-240.

Research Project: Proposal due

II. Methodology: Questionnaires and Measurement

Questionnaire Design



Dilman, ch. 3 - 6


Westphal, J.D. 1999. Collaboration in the boardroom: Behavioral and performance consequences of CEO-Board social ties. Academy of Management Journal, 42(1):7-24.

For class discussion:

Bowers, David. 1973. From the point of view of experimental and quasi-experimental design critique OD Techniques and their results in 23 organizations: The Michigan ICL study, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 9(1): 21-43.

Survey Implementation



Dilman, ch. 7, 8, 11, 13


Research Project: Questionnaire due


Concepts and Measurement


For Discussion:

Rubin, Zick. 1970. Measurement of romantic love Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 16(2):265-273.


DeVellis: Ch. 1 Overview, ch. 2 Understanding the Latent Variable, ch. 3 Reliability, ch. 4 Validity in Scale Development

Scale Construction



DeVellis: Ch. 5 Guidelines in Scale Development, Ch. 6 Factor Analytic Strategies, Ch. 8 Measurement in the Broader Research Context in Scale Development

Musil et al   1998. Structural equation modeling and its relationship to mulitple regression and factor analysis. Research in Nursing and Health, 21(3): 271-281.

Bergami, M. and Bagozzi, R.P. 2000. Self-categorization, affective commitment and group self-esteem as distinct aspects of social identity in the organization. British Journal of Social Psychology, 2000, 39(4):555-577.

Research Project: Pretest of questionnaire due

Scale Construction



Podsakoff et al. 2003. Common methods biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5): 879-903.

SPSS: Analysis of an environmental scale

III. New Methodologies: Network Analysis and Process Models

Network Analysis



Borgatti, S. & Foster, P. 2003. The network paradigm in organizational research: A review and typology. Journal of Management, 29(6): 991-1013.

Balkundi, P. and Kilduff, M. 2005. The ties that lead: A social network approach to leadership. 2005. Leadership Quarterly. 16(6): 941-961.

Hoffman, A.J. 2009.  Shades of green. Stanford Innovation Review. Spring: 44-49.

Analyzing Social 



Abbott, A. 1988. Transcending general linear reality. Sociological Theory, 6:169-186.

Abell, P.  2004. Narrative explanation: An alternative to variable centered explanation? Annual Review of Sociology, 30:287-310.

Langley, A. 1999. Strategies for theorizing from process data. Academy of Management Review,  24:691-710.

Van de Ven, A.H. and Poole, M.S. 2005. Alternative approaches for studying organizational change. Organization Studies, 26(9): 1377-1404.

Event Structure Analysis: www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/ESA/, help manual: www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/ESA/EthnoHelp.pdf


Carpenter, M.A. & Westphal, J.D. 2001. The strategic context of external network ties. Academy of Management Journal, 4:639-660.

Analyzing Social Processes 11/16


Ragin, Introduction, ch. 1-11

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA): www.u.arizona.edu/~cragin/fsQCA/index.shtml


Stevenson, W.B., and Radin, R.F 2009. Social capital and social influence on the board of directors, Journal of Management Studies, 46(1): 16-44.


Questionnare Presentation

No class 11/23




Analyzing Social Processes 11/30


Stevenson, W.B. & Greenberg, D. 1998. The formal analysis of narratives of organizational change, Journal of Management, 24:741-762.

Grant, D., et al., 2010. Bringing the polluters back in: Environmental inequality and the organization of chemical production, American Sociologcal Review, 75(4): 479-504.

Stevenson, W.B. & Greenberg, D. 2000. Agency and social networks: Strategies for action in a social structure of position, opposition, and opportunity. Administrative Science Quarterly, 454: 651-678.


Event Structure Analysis Presentation

Conclusions 12/7 Presentation:

Fuzzy Set Analysis Presentation

Final Paper Due


Final Paper

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