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Literature reveals continuous interest in explanations for differences in firm performance. This article aims to contribute to the existing body of literature by adopting a two-level perspective of industry and firm factors as causal conditions to explain firm profitability. This article illustrates a two-step fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) and shows how certain proximate conditions (i.e., selling approaches) can bring about an outcome (i.e., profitability) in a given context of remote conditions (i.e., industry factors). The findings of the two-step fsQCA point to alternative profitability-enhancing industry contexts. In addition, the findings of this study indicate combinations of selling approaches within these contexts that jointly lead to profitability. Knowledge about these configurations contributes to a deeper understanding of context-dependency and helps managers develop selling strategies to increase profitability in diverse settings. From a methodological point of view, the stepwise fsQCA helps address limited diversity which presents a major challenge in many QCA studies.
Journal: Journal of Business Research - Volume 69, Issue 4, April 2016, Pages 1307–1313