Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in Management Research (PhD Seminar)

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a set-theoretic methods that uses Boolean Algebra to identify configurations of conditions that explain the occurrence of a previously defined outcome. The method has been introduced more than 30 years ago by Charles Ragin and has since then spread in political science, sociology, and management. In management, the method has become a more and more established toolkit for the analysis of configurational phenomena. The method allows building and evaluation of configurational theory such as theory on organizational forms, innovation systems, HRM systems, entrepreneurial eco systems, and many more. Several high impact publications underline the importance of this method in management and neighboring disciplines.

This course provides an introduction into QCA with applications to theories in innovation and entrepreneurship research. It provides a general introduction in the foundations of QCA, distinguishes between different versions of QCA (crisp-set QCA, fuzzy-set QCA, and multi-value QCA), and gives an introduction into a software package (fsQCA). During the course, students will design (in groups) their own QCA study, present their findings, and will deliver a short research report. Students may use their own data set for the group work or use data sets that the lecturer suggests.

The overall schedule of the course is as follows. In the morning of the first day, we will look at the fundamentals of QCA, the basic steps of a QCA study, and selected applications in innovation and entrepreneurship research. The afternoon session of the first day will cover an introduction into fsQCA, work on selected data sets and the elaboration of an outline of a research question that will be analyzed in group work. In the morning of the second day, the groups will present their work, highlight certain pitfalls and obstacles, and present a list of problems and tasks that they would like to complete in the afternoon session. The afternoon session will contain practical work with the fsQCA software and other software packages. It will focus on the application of QCA in a mixed- / multi-method setting and will give hints for the final report.

Students submit their final report on August 16st, 2022. The report shall have a length between 2500 and 3000 words (excluding list of references and appendices).


May 13th, 2022, 08:00-12:00, : Introduction and foundations of QCA

May 13th, 2022, 14:00-18:00, : Introduction to the fsQCA software and practical work

July 22th, 2022, 08:30-12:00, : Interim Presentation and discussion of advanced applications

July 22th, 2022, 14:00-18:00, : Project work and advanced applications

Sept 16th, 2022: Due date final report


The deadline for registrations is May 12, 2022. Please register by sending an email to the lecturer.


Prof. Dr. Christian Rupietta


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