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A Method for Analysis of Ideal Types and Configurations

On 21st  November 2016 (1-2pm) Torsten Biemann, Professor at the Chair of Business Administration HRM and Leadership at the University of Mannheim, will give a presentation about “A Method for Analysis of Ideal Types and Configurations" in Q4.245. Afterwards, Mr. Biemann will be available for questions and discussions. His presentation is part of


The literature draws on three dominant modes of theorizing in organizational research. First is a universalistic perspective that comprises direct effects between independent and dependent variables. Second is a contingency perspective, which extends universalistic relationships and suggests interactions between independent variables. Third is a configurational perspective, which aims at identifying unique patterns of factors. For example, a specific pattern of various human resources (HR) practices or an organization’s strategic type might increase performance beyond what can be explained by direct or interaction effects. However, empirical research has mostly been confined to the first two modes, arguably due to the lack of suitable methods to test configurational predictions. In this article, I present a new approach to testing configurations (e.g., ideal types, patterns of factors) that is based on the concept of spatial dependence. I develop a stepwise statistical approach that first tests for the existence of ideal types or configurations in the data and then allows for the identification of pre-defined types and patterns. The utility of this approach is demonstrated with field data and in Monte Carlo simulations.

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