Configurational explanation of marketing outcomes : a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


As marketing, as a function and a process, is required to explain itself with more transparency, new tools and comprehensive analysis processes must be created and adopted, so that marketing performance and its determinants can systematically be understood and developed. In this dissertation, I present fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (‘FS/QCA’; Ragin, 2000; Fiss, 2008; Rihoux and Ragin, 2009; and others) as a novel approach to assessing marketing performance. My key argument is that the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis research approach and methodology can be used to explain marketing outcomes as results of configurations of causal conditions in specific contexts, yielding managerially relevant knowledge that would otherwise be difficult to access and interpret. The broad aim of this dissertation is to supplement the range of marketing management support systems, modeling approaches, and marketing performance assessment systems to provide better knowledge-driven decision support. The analytical premises of FS/QCA and its applications in fields of study related to marketing position it as a candidate to overcome some key challenges faced in marketing performance analysis: dealing with causal complexity, heterogeneity, asymmetry, configurationality, contextuality, and qualitative meaning. To draw together the research approach, the methodology, and the marketing performance management perspective, I specify a synthetic research process, configurational explanation of marketing outcomes (‘CEMO’), comprising the theoretical and empirical steps required for analysis. I demonstrate how the configurational explanation process was successfully carried out in two empirical contexts to generate results that are valid, reliable, and contribute knowledge that is directly relevant within the chosen context. The key contribution of this study is intended to be methodological: a specification of an analysis process for accessing a new type of contextually relevant knowledge about causal mechanisms that shape marketing performance. New knowledge accessible with CEMO provides opportunities for staging more effective marketing actions and, ultimately, an opportunity for better marketing performance.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Tikkanen, Henrikki, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4574-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4575-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • markkinointi
  • strategia
  • marketing
  • strategy


Dive into the research topics of 'Configurational explanation of marketing outcomes : a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this