Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA): A set-analytic approach to studying organizational configurations Summer School

Summer School


After the course, you should be 

  1. Familiar with the history of QCA and its introduction and diffusion in management studies
  2. Understand the logic of set-analytic methods
  3. Able to distinguish different approaches to case selection and how they lead to QCA
  4. Develop a configurational research design for your own research field
  5. Able to explain the difference between small-N and large-N approaches to QCA
  6. Familiar with current advanced topics in QCA


The course is structured in six sessions. In Session 1, you will learn about the history of QCA and its introduction and diffusion in management research. We will discuss the conceptual background of QCA and become familiar with QCA as an analytical approach. A hands-on tutorial during the Session will help illustrating the core methodological principles of QCA. In Session 2, we will situate QCA in the broader landscape of qualitative research methods, focusing on logics of case selection and research designs for inductive and deductive research. In Session 2 you will also have the opportunity to reflect upon your own research and current and alternative research designs to address your research questions. In Session 3, you will become familiar with the traditional, small-N QCA research approach, focusing on motivating a configurational study (conceptual background), central aspects in implementing a QCA analysis (calibration, model coefficients, etc.), and the importance of post-QCA case analysis. For so doing, we will draw on small-N QCA studies published in top management journals. In Session 4, we will focus on large-N QCA, a more recent and less formalized research approach in QCA. Again, drawing on QCA studies published in top management journals, we will contrast state-of-the art applications of large-N QCA vis-à-vis small-N studies. In Session 5, we will examine configurational research across the management literature (e.g., strategy, org theory, innovation, OB, HRM, entrepreneurship, etc.) focusing primarily on your research fields. Additionally, based on the material covered in Sessions 2-4, you will outline, and receive feedback, on a possible configurational research designs for your own research. In Session 6, we will cover recent and advanced topics in QCA, including for example longitudinal QCA, multi-level QCA, QCA in mixed-methods studies.


Assessment is on a Pass/ Fail basis. To pass the course, participants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Attendance of all sessions
  2. Active participation in all session
  3. Preparation of essential readings
  4. Completion of two in-class assignments
  5. Submission and presentation of an outline research proposal


The course includes essential and recommended literature for each session. 

  • Aversa, P., Furnari, S., & Haefliger, S. (2015). Business model configurations and performance: A qualitative comparative analysis in Formula One racing, 2005–2013. Industrial and Corporate Change, 24(3), 655-676.
  • Fiss, P., Sharapov, D., & Cronqvist, L. (2013). Opposites attract? Opportunities and challenges for integrating large-N QCA and econometric analysis. Political Research Quarterly, 66, 191-197.
  • Fiss, P. (2011). Building better causal theories: A fuzzy set approach to typologies in organizational research. Academy of Management Journal, 54(2), 393-420.
  • Fiss, P.C. 2008. Case studies and the configurational analysis of organizational phenomena. Handbook of Case Study Methods, C. Ragin and D. Byrne (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Greckhamer, T. (2016). CEO compensation in relation to worker compensation across countries: The configurational impact of country‐level institutions. Strategic Management Journal, 37(4), 793-815.
  • Greckhamer, T., Furnari, S., Fiss, P. C., & Aguilera, R. V. (2018). Studying configurations with qualitative comparative analysis: Best practices in strategy and organization research. Strategic Organization, 16(4), 482-495.
  • Greckhamer, T., Misangyi, V., & Fiss, P. (2013). The two QCAs: From a small to a large-N set theoretic approach. In P. Fiss, B. Cambré, & A. Marx (Eds.), Configurational Theory and Methods in Organizational Research. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing
  • Halme, M., Rintamäki, J., Knudsen, J. S., Lankoski, L., & Kuisma, M. 2018. When is there a sustainability case for CSR? Pathways to environmental and social performance improvements. Business & Society, in-press
  • Meuer, J., & Fiss, P. (2020). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in Business and Management Research. In R. Aldag (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Meuer, J., & Rupietta, C. (2017). Integrating QCA and HLM for multilevel research on organizational configurations. Organizational Research Methods, 20(2), 324-342.
  • Meuer, J., Rupietta, C., & Backes-Gellner, U. (2015). Layers of co-existing innovation systems. Research Policy, 44(4), 888-910.
  • Misangyi, V., Greckhamer, T., Furnari, S., Fiss, P. C., Crilly, D., & Aguilera, R. (2017). Embracing Causal Complexity: The Emergence of a Neo-Configurational Perspective. Journal of Management, 43(1), 255-282.
  • Ragin, C. (2008). Redesigning social inquiry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Rubinson, C., Gerrits, L. M., Rutten, R., & Greckhamer, T. (2019). Avoiding Common Errors in QCA: A ShortGuide for New Practitioners. COMPASSS - Working Paper (http://compasss.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Common_Errors_in_QCA.pdf).
  • Rupietta, C., & Meuer, J. (2021). C2PA Comparative configurational process analysis: A new set-theoretic technique for longitudinal case analysis. ETH Zurich, Working Paper.
  • Vergne, J-P., & Depeyre, C. 2016. How do firms adapt? A fuzzy-set analysis of the role of cognition and capabilities in us defense firms’ responses to 9/11. Academy of Management Journal, 59(5): 1653-1680.

Additional info

For the timetable of this course, please click here. The timetable is in the local time of Rotterdam, which is CEST (UTC+02:00).

This course is given in a fully online format.


This course is full and we cannot accept any more registrations.