This article reviews and critically examines 77 journal articles published from 2005 to 2016 on the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) applied in business and management research on the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation research. The findings reveal that the number of fsQCA applications has sharply increased during the past few years. Stemming from the systematic literature review, core aspects dealing with firm performance and innovation are identified. Ultimately, we provide promising areas with future potential for the application of fsQCA such as the elaboration of the antecedents leading to business model innovation.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aguilera-Caracuel, J., Fedriani, E. M., & Delgado-Márquez, B. L. (2014). Institutional distance among country influences and environmental performance standardization in multinational enterprises. Journal of Business Research, 67(11), 2385–2392.
Bell, R. G., Filatotchev, I., & Aguilera, R. V. (2014). Corporate governance and investors' perceptions of foreign ipo value: An institutional perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 57(1), 301–320.
Beynon, M. J., Jones, P., & Pickernell, D. (2016). Country-based comparison analysis using fsQCA investigating entrepreneurial attitudes and activity. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1271–1276.
Bouncken, R. B., Plüschke, B. D., Pesch, R., & Kraus, S. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation in vertical alliances: Joint product innovation and learning from allies. Review of Managerial Science, 10(2)381–409.
Castro, G. M.-d., Delgado-verde, M., Amores-salvadó, J., & Navas-lópez, J. E. (2013). Linking human, technological, and relational assets to technological innovation: Exploring a new approach. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 11(2), 123–132.
Chandra Balodi, K., & Prabhu, J. (2014). Causal recipes for high performance. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 20(6), 542–561.
Chang, M.-L., & Cheng, C.-F. (2014). How balance theory explains high-tech professionals' solutions of enhancing job satisfaction. Journal of Business Research, 67(9), 2008–2018.
Chaparro-Peláez, J., Agudo-Peregrina, Á. F., & Pascual-Miguel, F. J. (2016). Conjoint analysis of drivers and inhibitors of e-commerce adoption. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1277–1282.
Cheng, C.-F., Chang, M.-L., & Li, C.-S. (2013). Configural paths to successful product innovation. Journal of Business Research, 66(12), 2561–2573.
Chesbrough, H. W. (2010). Business model innovation: Opportunities and barriers. Long Range Planning, 43(2–3), 354–363.
Chia-Wen, C., Ting-Hsiang, T., & Woodside, A. G. (2013). Configural algorithms of patient satisfaction, participation in diagnostics, and treatment decisions' influences on hospital loyalty. Journal of Services Marketing, 27(2), 91–103.
Coduras, A., Clemente, J. A., & Ruiz, J. (2016). A novel application of fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to GEM data. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1265–1270.
Cooper, B., & Glaesser, J. (2010). Using case-based approaches to analyse large datasets: A comparison of Ragin’s fsQCA and fuzzy cluster analysis. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(1), 31–48.
Covin, J. G., Eggers, F., Kraus, S., Cheng, C.-F., & Chang, M.-L. (2016). Marketing-related resources and radical innovativeness in family and non-family firms: A configurational approach. Journal of Business Research, in press. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.03.069.
Crilly, D. (2011). Predicting stakeholder orientation in the multinational enterprise: A mid-range theory. Journal of International Business Studies, 42(5), 694–717.
Crilly, D., Zollo, M., & Hansen, M. T. (2012). Faking it or muddling through? Understanding decoupling in response to stakeholder pressures. The Academy of Management Journal, 55(6), 1429–1448.
Dai, C.-Y., & Huang, D.-H. (2015). Causal complexities to evaluate the effectiveness of remedial instruction. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 894–899.
DaSilva, C. M., & Trkman, P. (2014). Business model: What it is and what it is not. Long Range Planning, 47(6), 379–389.
Denk, T., & Lehtinen, S. (2014). Contextual analyses with QCA-methods. Quality and Quantity, 48(6), 3475–3487.
Domenech, J., Escamilla, R., & Roig-Tierno, N. (2016). Explaining knowledge-intensive activities from a regional perspective. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1301–1306.
Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long Range Planning, 43(2/3), 370–382.
El Sawy, O. A., Malhotra, A., YoungKi, P., & Pavlou, P. A. (2010). Seeking the configurations of digital Ecodynamics: It takes three to tango. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 835–848.
Fan, D., & Zhu, C. J. (2014). How do Chinese multinationals perceive factors affecting the integration-responsiveness framework? International Journal of Emerging Markets, 9(2), 181–204.
Ferreira, J. J. M., Fernandes, C. I., & Kraus, S. (2017). Entrepreneurship research: Mapping intellectual structures and research trends. Review of Managerial Science. doi:10.1007/s11846-017-0242-3.
Fiss, P. C. (2007). A set-theoretic approach to organizational configurations. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1180–1198.
Fiss, P. C. (2011). Building better causal theories: A fuzzy set approach to typologies in organization research. The Academy of Management Journal, 54(2), 393–420.
Ford, L. R., Seers, A., & Neumann, J. (2013). Honoring complexity. Management Research Review, 36(7), 644–663.
Frambach, R. T., Fiss, P. C., & Ingenbleek, P. T. M. (2016). How important is customer orientation for firm performance? A fuzzy set analysis of orientations, strategies, and environments. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1428–1436.
Ganter, A., & Hecker, A. (2014). Configurational paths to organizational innovation: Qualitative comparative analyses of antecedents and contingencies. Journal of Business Research, 67(6), 1285–1292.
Garcia-Castro, R., & Aguilera, R. V. (2014). Family involvement in business and financial performance: A set-theoretic cross-national inquiry. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 5(1), 85–96.
Garcia-Castro, R., & Casasola, M. J. (2011). A set-theoretic analysis of the components of family involvement in publicly listed and major unlisted firms. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 2(1), 15–25.
García-Castro, R., Aguilera, R. V., & Ariño, M. A. (2013). Bundles of firm corporate governance practices: A fuzzy set analysis. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 21(4), 390–407.
Gast, J., Filser, M., Gundolf, K., & Kraus, S. (2015). Coopetition research: Towards a better understanding of past trends and future directions. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 24(4), 492–521.
George, G., & Bock, A. J. (2011). The business model in practice and its implications for entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 35(1), 83–111.
Gonçalves, H. M., Lourenço, T. F., & Silva, G. M. (2016). Green buying behavior and the theory of consumption values: A fuzzy-set approach. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1484–1491.
González-Cruz, T. F., & Cruz-Ros, S. (2016). When does family involvement produce superior performance in SME family business? Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1452–1457.
Greckhamer, T., Misangyi, V. F., Elms, H., & Lacey, R. (2008). Using qualitative comparative analysis in strategic management research: An examination of combinations of industry, corporate, and business-unit effects. Organizational Research Methods, 11(4), 695–726.
Häge, F. M. (2007). Constructivism, fuzzy sets and (very) small-N: Revisiting the conditions for communicative action. Journal of Business Research, 60(5), 512–521.
Hai, D. P., Roig-Dobón, S., & Sánchez-García, J. L. (2016). Innovative governance from public policy unities. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1524–1528.
Harms, R., Kraus, S., & Reschke, C. H. (2007). Configurations of new ventures in entrepreneurship research - contributions and research gaps. Management Research News, 30(9), 661–673.
Harms, R., Kraus, S., & Schwarz, E. (2009). The suitability of the configuration approach in entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 21(1), 25–49.
Henik, E. (2015). Understanding whistle-blowing: A set-theoretic approach. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), 442–450.
Ho, H., & Lu, R. (2015). Performance implications of marketing exploitation and exploration: Moderating role of supplier collaboration. Journal of Business Research, 68(5), 1026–1034.
Huang, C.-W., & Huarng, K.-H. (2015). Evaluating the performance of biotechnology companies by causal recipes. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 851–856.
Huarng, K.-H. (2015). Configural theory for ICT development. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 748–756.
Iseke, A., Kocks, B., Schneider, M. R., & Schulze-Bentrop, C. (2015). Cross-cutting organizational and demographic divides and the performance of research and development teams: Two wrongs can make a right. R&D Management, 45(1), 23–40.
Jenson, I., Leith, P., Doyle, R., West, J., & Miles, M. P. (2016). Testing innovation systems theory using qualitative comparative analysis. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1283–1287.
Joshi, A., Son, J., & Roh, H. (2015). When can women close the gap? A meta-analytic test of sex differences in performance and rewards. Academy of Management Journal, 58(5), 1516–1545.
Kask, J., & Linton, G. (2013). Business mating: When start-ups get it right. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 26(5), 511–536.
Kent, R. A. (2005). Cases as configurations: Using combinatorial and fuzzy logic to analyse marketing data. International Journal of Market Research, 47(2), 205–228.
Kent, R. A., & Argouslidis, P. C. (2005). Shaping business decisions using fuzzy-set analysis: Service elimination decisions. Journal of Marketing Management, 21(5/6), 641–658.
Kraus, S., Brem, A., Schüssler, M., Schüssler, F., & Niemand, T. (2017). Innovative born Globals: Investigating the influence of their business models on international performance. International Journal of Innovation Management, 21(1)1–54.
Kraus, S., Mensching, H., Calabrò, A., Cheng, C.-F., & Filser, M. (2016). Family firm internationalization: A configurational approach. Journal of Business Research 69,(11)5473–5478.
Kraus, S., Richter, C., Brem, A., Cheng, C.-F., & Chan, M.-L. (2016c). Strategies for reward-based crowdfunding campaigns. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 1(1), 13–23.
Kuckertz, A., Berger, E. S. C., & Mpeqa, A. (2016). The more the merrier? Economic freedom and entrepreneurial activity. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1288–1293.
Kulins, C., Leonardy, H., & Weber, C. (2016). A configurational approach in business model design. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1437–1441.
Kvist, J. (2007). Fuzzy set ideal type analysis. Journal of Business Research, 60(5), 474–481.
Leischnig, A., & Kasper-Brauer, K. (2015). Employee adaptive behavior in service enactments. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), 273–280.
Leischnig, A., & Kasper-Brauer, K. (2016). How to sell in diverse markets? A two-level approach to industry factors and selling factors for explaining firm profitability. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1307–1313.
Leischnig, A., Geigenmueller, A., & Lohmann, S. (2014). On the role of alliance management capability, organizational compatibility, and interaction quality in interorganizational technology transfer. Journal of Business Research, 67(6), 1049–1057.
Lisboa, A., Skarmeas, D., & Saridakis, C. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation pathways to performance: A fuzzy-set analysis. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1319–1324.
Mair, J., Battilana, J., & Cardenas, J. (2012). Organizing for Society: A typology of social Entrepreneuring models. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 353–373.
Marx, A., & van Hootegem, G. (2007). Comparative configurational case analysis of ergonomic injuries. Journal of Business Research, 60(5), 522–530.
Mas-Verdú, F., Ribeiro-Soriano, D., & Roig-Tierno, N. (2015). Firm survival: The role of incubators and business characteristics. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 793–796.
Mayrhofer, W. (2009). Groping in the dark? Recent contributions to progress in interpretative research - a review. Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, 23(2), 166–182.
Mendel, J. M., & Korjani, M. M. (2013). Theoretical aspects of fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). Information Sciences, 237(0), 137–161.
Meuer, J. (2014). Archetypes of inter-firm relations in the implementation of management innovation: A set-theoretic study in China’s biopharmaceutical industry. Organization Studies (01708406), 35(1), 121–145.
Mikalef, P., Pateli, A., Batenburg, R. S., & Wetering, R. v. d. (2015). Purchasing alignment under multiple contingencies: A configuration theory approach. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 115(4), 625–645.
Misangyi, V. F., & Acharya, A. G. (2014). Substitutes or complements? A configurational examination of corporate governance mechanisms. Academy of Management Journal, 57(6), 1681–1705.
Mozas-Moral, A., Moral-Pajares, E., Medina-Viruel, M. J., & Bernal-Jurado, E. (2016). Manager's educational background and ICT use as antecedents of export decisions: A crisp set QCA analysis. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1333–1335.
Mugler, J., Frank, H., Lueger, M., & Korunka, C. (2003). The entrepreneurial personality in the context of resources, environment, and the startup process. A Configuration Approach. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 28(1), 23–42.
Muñoz, P., & Kibler, E. (2016). Institutional complexity and social entrepreneurship: A fuzzy-set approach. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1314–1318.
Nair, L. B., & Gibbert, M. (2016). Analyzing inconsistent cases in management fsQCA studies: A methodological manifesto. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1464–1470.
Navarro, S., Llinares, C., & Garzon, D. (2016). Exploring the relationship between co-creation and satisfaction using QCA. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1336–1339.
Ni, N., Egri, C., Lo, C., & Lin, C. Y.-y. (2015). Patterns of corporate responsibility practices for high financial performance: Evidence from three Chinese societies. Journal of Business Ethics, 126(2), 169–183.
Onetti, A., Zucchella, A., Jones, M., & McDougall-Covin, P. (2012). Internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship: Business models for new technology-based firms. Journal of Management & Governance, 16(3), 337–368.
Ospina-Delgado, J., & Zorio-Grima, A. (2016). Innovation at universities: A fuzzy-set approach for MOOC-intensiveness. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1325–1328.
Ott, U. F., & Kimura, Y. (2016). A set-theoretic analysis of negotiations in Japanese MNEs: Opening up the black box. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1294–1300.
Peltoniemi, M. (2014). How do the determinants of firm survival change in the course of the industry life cycle? A fuzzy-set analysis. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 26(2), 223–239.
Prado, A. M., & Woodside, A. (2015). Deepening understanding of certification adoption and non-adoption of international-supplier ethical standards. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(1), 105–125.
Primc, K., & Cater, T. (2015). Environmental proactivity and firm performance: A fuzzy-set analysis. Management Decision, 53(3), 648–667.
Pustovrh, A., & Jaklic, M. (2014). National innovation policies in the eu: A fuzzy-set analysis. Economic and Business Review for Central and South - Eastern Europe, 16(1), 39–62.
Ragin, C. C. (1987). The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Ragin, C. C. (2000). Fuzzy-set social science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Ragin, C. C. (2006). Set relations in social research: Evaluating their consistency and coverage. Political Analysis, 14(3), 291–310.
Ragin, C. C. (2008a). Measurement versus calibration: A set-theoretic approach. In J. M. Box-Steffensmeier, H. E. Brady, & D. Collier (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of political methodology (pp. 174–198). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Ragin, C. C. (2008b). Redesigning social inquiry: Fuzzy sets and beyond. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Ragin, C. C. (2008c). User's guide to fuzzy-set/qualitative comparative analysis. www.fsqca.com.
Ragin, C. C. (2009). Qualitative comparative analysis using fuzzy sets (fsQCA). In B. Rihoux & C. C. Ragin (Eds.), Configurative comparative methods: Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and related techniques (pp. 87–121). London: Sage Publications.
Rigtering, C., Kraus, S., Eggers, F., & Jensen, S. H. (2014). A comparative analysis of the entrepreneurial orientation/growth relationship in service firms and manufacturing firms. Service Industries Journal, 34(4), 275–294.
Rihoux, B., Álamos-Concha, P., Bol, D., Marx, A., & Rezsöhazy, I. (2013). From niche to mainstream method? A comprehensive mapping of QCA applications in journal articles from 1984 to 2011. Political Research Quarterly, 66(1), 175–184.
Roig-Tierno, N., Huarng, K.-H., & Ribeiro-Soriano, D. (2016). Qualitative comparative analysis: Crisp and fuzzy sets in business and management. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1261–1264.
Rubinson, C. (2013). Contradictions in fsQCA. Quality and Quantity, 47(5), 2847–2867.
Schneider, M. R., & Eggert, A. (2014). Embracing complex causality with the QCA method: An invitation. Journal of Business Market Management, 7(1), 312–328.
Schneider, C. Q., & Wagemann, C. (2012). Set-theoretic methods for the social science: A guide to qualitative comparative analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schneider, M. R., Schulze-Bentrop, C., & Paunescu, M. (2010). Mapping the institutional Capital of High-Tech Firms: A fuzzy-set analysis of capitalist variety and export performance. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(2), 246–266.
Semrau, T., Ambos, T. C., & Kraus, S. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation and SME performance across societal cultures. Journal of Business Research, 69(5), 1928–1932.
Shang-Yung, Y., & Song-Ching, F. (2014). An exploration on the business model of social enterprises owned by Chinese entrepreneurs in Taiwan. Asian Economic and Financial Review, 4(10), 1275–1289.
Shipley, M. F., Johnson, M., Pointer, L., & Yankov, N. (2013). A fuzzy attractiveness of market entry (FAME) model for market selection decisions. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 64(4), 597–610.
Skarmeas, D., Leonidou, C. N., & Saridakis, C. (2014). Examining the role of CSR skepticism using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. Journal of Business Research, 67(9), 1796–1805.
Smith, W. K., Binns, A., & Tushman, M. L. (2010). Complex business models: Managing strategic paradoxes simultaneously. Long Range Planning, 43(2/3), 448–461.
Stanko, M. A., & Olleros, X. (2013). Industry growth and the knowledge spillover regime: Does outsourcing harm innovativeness but help profit? Journal of Business Research, 66(10), 2007–2016.
Stokke, O. S. (2007). Qualitative comparative analysis, shaming, and international regime effectiveness. Journal of Business Research, 60(5), 501–511.
Straub, D., Rai, A., & Klein, R. (2004). Measuring firm performance at the network level: A Nomology of the business impact of digital supply networks. Journal of Management Information Systems, 21(1), 83–114.
Svejenova, S., Planellas, M., & Vives, L. (2010). An individual business model in the making: A Chef’s quest for creative freedom. Long Range Planning, 43(2/3), 408–430.
Tho, N. D., & Trang, N. T. M. (2015). Can knowledge be transferred from business schools to business organizations through in-service training students? SEM and fsQCA findings. Journal of Business Research, 68(6), 1332–1340.
Tóth, Z., Thiesbrummel, C., Henneberg, S. C., & Naudé, P. (2015). Understanding configurations of relational attractiveness of the customer firm using fuzzy set QCA. Journal of Business Research, 68(3), 723–734.
Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British Journal of Management, 14(3), 207–222.
Trimi, S., & Berbegal-Mirabent, J. (2012). Business model innovation in entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 8(4), 449–465.
Valliere, D., Na, N., & Wise, S. (2008). Prior relationships and M&a Exit Valuations: A set-theoretic approach. Journal of Private Equity, 11(2), 60–72.
Wang, D. H.-M., Yu, T. H.-K., & Chiang, C.-H. (2016). Exploring the value relevance of corporate reputation: A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. Journal of Business Research, 69(4), 1329–1332.
Woodside, A. G. (2010). Bridging the chasm between survey and case study research: Research methods for achieving generalization, accuracy, and complexity. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(1), 64–75.
Woodside, A. G. (2011). Responding to the severe limitations of cross-sectional surveys: Commenting on Rong and Wilkinson’s perspectives. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 19(3), 153–156.
Woodside, A. G. (2013). Moving beyond multiple regression analysis to algorithms: Calling for adoption of a paradigm shift from symmetric to asymmetric thinking in data analysis and crafting theory. Journal of Business Research, 66(4), 463–472.
Woodside, A. G. (2014). Embrace•perform•model: Complexity theory, contrarian case analysis, and multiple realities. Journal of Business Research, 67(12), 2495–2503.
Woodside, A. G., & Baxter, R. (2013). Achieving accuracy, generalization-to-contexts, and complexity in theories of business-to-business decision processes. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(3), 382–393.
Woodside, A. G., & Zhang, M. (2013). Cultural diversity and marketing transactions: Are market integration, large community size, and world religions necessary for fairness in ephemeral exchanges? Psychology & Marketing, 30(3), 263–276.
Woodside, A. G., Ko, E., & Huan, T. C. (2012). The new logic in building isomorphic theory of management decision realities. Management Decision, 50(5), 765–777.
Wu, C.-W. (2015). Antecedents of franchise strategy and performance. Journal of Business Research, 68(7), 1581–1588.
Wu, C.-W., & Huarng, K.-H. (2015). Global entrepreneurship and innovation in management. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 743–747.
Wu, P.-L., Yeh, S.-S., Huan, T.-C., & Woodside, A. G. (2014). Applying complexity theory to deepen service dominant logic: Configural analysis of customer experience-and-outcome assessments of professional services for personal transformations. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1647–1670.
Yen, S.-Y., Tseng, T.-H., & Fan, S.-C. (2014). Exploring sufficiency conditions for entrepreneurial environment and counseling activities on entrepreneurial performance. International Business Research, 7(7), 1–9.
Zott, C., Amit, R., & Massa, L. (2011). The business model: Recent developments and future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1019–1042.
About this article
Cite this article
Kraus, S., Ribeiro-Soriano, D. & Schüssler, M. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) in entrepreneurship and innovation research – the rise of a method. Int Entrep Manag J 14, 15–33 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-017-0461-8
- Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis
- Business and management