Addressing organisational effectiveness with qualitative comparative analysis



We are pleased to announce a special issue of the Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. QCA can be characterized by four foundational elements, namely: it views causality in terms of necessity and sufficiency between sets, it calibrates the membership of cases into sets, it conceptualizes cases as set theoretical configurations, and uses counterfactual analysis to deal with unobserved configurations. By using QCA the authors will be able to contribute in a different way since it offers several advantage compared to the most traditional methods such as regression-based techniques.

QCA tools bring a neo-configurational perspective to the study of management and organizations. We look for fine-grained conceptualization and empirical research work that explores the causal complexity of set theory. We welcome empirical work using distinct variants of QCA exploring datasets from sample sizes ranging  from less than 50 cases (very small samples) to thousands of cases (very large samples). This Special Issue on QCA wants to advance multilevel research by empirically examining how higher level outcomes emerge from several lower level conditions.

Such ambitious task is facilitated by QCA’s advantage to be employable for diverse types of data and research approaches:

  • Variables measured using Likert type scales are admissible since the score of each latent variable can be calibrated into fuzzy-sets memberships;  
  • Binary variables generate dichotomous sets that are acceptable as crispy-set variables (full membership = 1 and full non-membership = 0);
  • Categorical variables are also appropriate since each category can be associated to a meaningful group, and calibrated according to the theoretical and empirical knowledge on the variables;
  • Qualitative data from content analysis of documents (e.g., interviews, speeches) is suitable by adopting criteria to group the cases in different degrees of membership.

We look for rigorous contribution, therefore we strongly recommend authors to acknowledge the standards and good practices for QCA use that the literature offers. Authors are challenged to develop inductive, deductive and abductive reasoning research.

This Special Issue encourages submission of manuscripts within the journal’s aims and scope, which means, papers tackling performance issues that have relevance at the individual, team, function, organization and societal (policy) level that apply Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). All papers should have a performance connotation, either by including hard performance data or by focusing on key processes and capabilities considered central to performance.

While a lot has been done, much more work is needed on how multiple configurational causality affects the conceptualization of social phenomena. We expected studies using QCA may show the tool usefulness as an analytical technique and as well as serving a conceptual perspective. The papers should cover issues that academics, practitioners and employees see as being important and investigate performance in terms of what it means for organizational effectiveness, business models and the people management process. Papers should be capable of contributing to strategic (and policy) thinking and identifying the long-term performance issues that confront workforces and organizations, with findings that can provide guidance on the best ways forward.

List of topic areas:

  • Human Resources Management  
  • Knowledge Management 
  • Production and Operations Management
  • Information Systems 
  • Strategy
  • Marketing 
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability
  • International business
  • Organizational Behaviour 

Guest Editor: 

Carla Curado, ADVANCE/CSG, ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, [email protected] 
Graça Silva, ADVANCE/CSG, ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, [email protected]  

Catherine Prentice, Faculty of Business, Education, Law, and Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, [email protected] 

Submissions Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: 

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: 

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines:

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 1/4/2024