Experimental research in international management

New book chapter on how experimental research can advance language research in international management

Ever since conducting a study on the role of language in cooperation vs. competition (Compete or cooperate: does it depend on the language?) I have been interested in the use of experimental research. My former PhD student - Shea Fan - also used experimental research very effectively in her PhD (Managing expatriates' identity: subtle desire, big impact). I was therefore delighted to be asked to contribute a chapter to a new edited book on language research, which will come out next year.

  • Fan, S.X.; Harzing, A.W. (2020): Moving beyond the baseline: Exploring the potential of experiments in language research, in: Horn, S. , Lecomte, P.  and Tietze, S. (eds) Understanding Multilingual Workplaces: Methodological, Empirical and Pedagogic Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 9-28. Available online... - Related blog post


Over the last 10 years, the use of experimental methods has received an increasing level of attention in the field of Management and International Business. Editors of major journals have encouraged its use. However, experimental research is still under-represented in the field of International Management and is even rarer in language research. Having said this, the topic of language has been studied in Cross-cultural Psychology, Psycho-linguistics, International Marketing and Cognitive Science, where experiments are used frequently. The current experimental language research in International Management has been influenced by these disciplines.

The objective of this chapter is not to explain how to design experimental research per se. Readers can identify many books and articles that offer detailed explanations on how to conduct experimental research. Instead, we first review the present use of experimental design in language research and then provide some explanations as to why experiments are rarely used. Using this information as the baseline for the present application of experimental methods in language research, we then illustrate how this method can be applied more broadly to advance research in the field.

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Further resources

Journal of International Business Studies articles on methodological issues [From the AIB SIG Research Methods website: https://rmsig.aib.world/resources-2/jibs-methods-editorials/]