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Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Configurational Thinking in Management Studies

Conrad Schulze-Bentrop

This study was awarded the Preis des Präsidiums für ausgezeichnete Dissertationen der Universität Paderborn as well as the Preis der Unternehmergruppe Ostwestfalen für hervorragende Dissertationen.

Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) – especially its fuzzy set version – has emerged as a new methodological tool in management studies which is ideally suited to test configurational theories. For the first time, the peculiarities of QCA in large-N designs are comprehensively analysed. Based on a systematic compilation of 145 empirical QCA studies valuable insights for the use of QCA as a quantitative technique are presented. For example, an innovative formula is developed which can substantially improve future model specifications. In a next step, the potential of QCA in management research is outlined by tracing configurational theories in a range of disciplines including strategy, HRM, marketing, and international business. This tour d’horizon through management studies highlights the wide application area of the methodology. Finally, an illustrative study is conducted using the fuzzy set version of QCA.


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I wish to thank my excellent “Doktorvater” Prof. Dr. Martin Schneider who introduced me to QCA, Prof. Dr. Stefan Betz who was a great second referee, the secretary of the chair Roswitha Nell who kept me smiling, the amicable companions on the doctoral journey Yanick Kemayou and Dr. Eva Münkhoff, Gabi Recknagel for her fantastic copyediting, Dr. Kai Kühne for his witty car- toons, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Anja Iseke and the other colleagues, and last but not least my parents! Conrad Schulze-Bentrop Hamburg, February 2013 VII VIII

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