International management research typically pursues one of two objectives : depth of understanding in a single country or comparisons between or among two or more countries. Hence, the research tends either to be idiographic, focusing in depth on structures, processes, or management practices in a particular country but not allowing for comparisons across countries , or it is nomothetic, stressing equivalence among variables across countries, but at the cost of a deep understanding of the national context. This paper describes a third approach, the pursuit of what we call “deep equivalence”. Pursuit of this objective involves an in-depth, contextual orientation in the research process while retaining a systematic and rigorous comparative approach to data gathering and analysis. It is illustrated with reference to a study of mishaps in the careers of CEOs in France and the United States, showing how at several stages in the research process, the need for equivalence in cross-national comparison is balanced by the need for a deep understanding of the context of each country. Guidelines for those undertaking management research which crosses national borders are suggested.
ROSENZWEIG, P.M., KIMBERLY, J. et BOUCHIKHI, H. (1993). In Pursuit of “Deep Equivalence” : Studying CEO Career Mishaps/Accidents de Carrière in France and the United States. ESSEC Business School.