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WP Series » WP Series 2015

van Kessel, Stijn. 2015. "Up to the Challenge? The Electoral Performance of Challenger Parties after their First Period in Power". COMPASSS WP Series 2015-84. Published online 15 December 2015.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/vanKessel2015.pdf.

Abstract: Across Europe, a substantial amount of parties have appeared which are characterised by a criticism of mainstream ideologies or the political elites more generally. Some of these parties have even succeeded in securing executive power. This paper examines the conditions underlying the electoral survival and demise of a broad range of 'challenger parties' after their first term in office. The central puzzle is why some newly governing challenger parties were able to survive reasonably well in the subsequent parliamentary election, while others failed to shield themselves from the electoral hazards of office. The paper presents the results of a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 25 newly governing parties across Europe. It shows that survivors did not necessarily leave a great impression in office, but that they were generally characterised by a higher degree of organisational cohesion and rootedness than their less successful counterparts.

Thiem, Alrik. 2015. "Standards of Good Practice and the Methodology of Necessary Conditions in Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Critical View on Schneider and Wagemann's Theory-Guided/Enhanced Standard Analysis". COMPASSS WP Series 2015-83. Published online 14 November 2015.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/Thiem2015.pdf.

Abstract: The analysis of necessary conditions for some outcome of interest has long been one of the main preoccupations of scholars in all disciplines of the social sciences. In this connection, the introduction of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the late 1980s has revolutionized the way research on necessary conditions has been carried out. Standards of good practice for QCA have long demanded that the results of preceding tests for necessity constrain QCA's core process of Boolean minimization so as to enhance the quality of the solution. Schneider and Wagemann's Theory-Guided/Enhanced Standard Analysis (T/ESA) is currently being adopted by applied researchers as the new state of the art in this respect. In drawing on Schneider and Wagemann's own illustrative data example and a meta-analysis of 36 truth tables across 21 published studies that have adhered to current standards of good practice in QCA, I demonstrate, however, that T/ESA and its methodological predecessors defeat their purpose once a hitherto unacknowledged bias in tests of necessity relations is corrected. In conclusion, I urge that methodologists of QCA stop misleading applied researchers by declaring their latest ideas to be standards of good practice before these have undergone sufficient evaluation by other researchers.

Ton, Giel. 2015. "Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Explore Outcome Patterns of Grant Support to Farmer Organisations in Bolivia". COMPASSS WP Series 2015-82. Published online 19 October 2015.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/Ton2015.pdf.

Abstract: We used Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to study the combinations of factors that are consistently related to success or failure of grants given to farmer groups. Using data from a sample of 26 grant beneficiaries, we explored whether baseline characteristics of the organisations related to group sales, organisational scale and organisational strength could predict the intended outcomes of the grant system: improved access to markets for member products, increased organisational capacity, and more income to pay organisational expenses. We explain the calibration process used to assign each organisation to (fuzzy-set) conditions, and the iterative process of QCA to explore the resulting truthtable for plausible causal configurations that may help to target grant funds. We use the ambiguities in the evaluation of success or failure of certain organisations to verify the robustness of the analysis under real-world conditions of measurement error. We detected some single conditions consistently related with success, especially if they were sourcing raw material from members or the spot market, and could triangulate these patterns with logistic regression. The grants to the older, larger and stronger organisations were consistently unsuccessful, because the grant resulted in under-scaled investments in secondary activities that were discontinued after pilot experiences. Finally, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of QCA as a method for explorative research and causal inference.

Meuer, Johannes and Christian Rupietta. 2015. "Qualifying "Fit": The Performance Dynamics of Firms' Change Tracks through Organizational Configurations". COMPASSS WP Series 2015-81. Published online 14 July 2015.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/MeuerRupietta2015.pdf.

Abstract: Organizational configurations, sets of firms with similarities in a number of essential characteristics, provide important insights into the synergies inherent to certain combinations of structural attributes and the performance effects of firms' retention of, adaptation to, or decoupling from high-performing configurations. The fundamental assumption is that the better a firm's "fit" with an ideal type configuration, the higher its performance. Although configurations are multidimensional constructs, researchers often simplify the dynamics of structural changes of configurations and the movement of firms within and between them. This simplification risks mis-specifying the organizational changes necessary for firms to achieve high performance. Using a mix of set-theoretic and econometric methods, we analyze a balanced panel of 244 Swiss firms in 2005, 2008, and 2011. We identify four temporally stable high-performing configurations: the "professional service firm," the "organic," the "mechanistic," and the "small bureaucracy," and demonstrate that even within this relatively short period, firms are exceptionally versatile in their change tracks. Thus high-performing configurations appear enduring not despite but because of firms' movements through these configurations. Furthermore, we demonstrate the complexity of the fit-performance association and argue that firms with a good fit will not only benefit from implementing an efficient yet firm-unspecific organizational structure, but will - through this configuration - additionally improve their ability to exploit inimitable firm-specific resources.

Lambach, Daniel, Eva Johais and Markus Bayer. 2015. "The Causes of State Collapse: Results from a QCA Analysis". COMPASSS WP Series 2015-80. Published online 17 July 2015.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/LambachJohaisBayer2015.pdf.

Abstract: Why do states collapse? The paper presents the results of a comprehensive investigation into the causes of state collapse. It also shows how QCA can address several methodological weaknesses of prior research. We test major causal hypotheses derived from the literature with csQCA involving 15 cases of state collapse between 1960 and 2007. The cases are compared in a synchronic and a diachronic comparison with two different control groups of fragile states that also experienced political upheaval without collapsing. Our results cast doubt on prominent theories of state collapse and suggest that alternative factors are more important. Using QCA allowed us to cope with the complex and equifinal causal structure of state collapse. However, conducting two different analyses made developing a causal model very difficult and our research design limited possibilities to adequately conceptualize dynamic factors. Therefore, we propose to supplement QCA with other methods, such as process-tracing, which are better able to capture causal mechanisms.


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