To read this content please select one of the options below:

When predictors of outcomes are necessary: guidelines for the combined use of PLS-SEM and NCA

Nicole Franziska Richter (University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
Sandra Schubring (Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany)
Sven Hauff (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany)
Christian M. Ringle (Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany) (University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Marko Sarstedt (Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany) (Monash University–Malaysia Campus, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 3 August 2020

Issue publication date: 2 December 2020




This research introduces the combined use of partial least squares–structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) and necessary condition analysis (NCA) that enables researchers to explore and validate hypotheses following a sufficiency logic, as well as hypotheses drawing on a necessity logic. The authors’ objective is to encourage the practice of combining PLS-SEM and NCA as complementary views of causality and data analysis.


The authors present guidelines describing how to combine PLS-SEM and NCA. These relate to the specification of the research objective and the theoretical background, the preparation and evaluation of the data set, running the analyses, the evaluation of measurements, the evaluation of the (structural) model and relationships and the interpretation of findings. In addition, the authors present an empirical illustration in the field of technology acceptance.


The use of PLS-SEM and NCA enables researchers to identify the must-have factors required for an outcome in accordance with the necessity logic. At the same time, this approach shows the should-have factors following the additive sufficiency logic. The combination of both logics enables researchers to support their theoretical considerations and offers new avenues to test theoretical alternatives for established models.


The authors provide insights into the logic, assessment, challenges and benefits of NCA for researchers familiar with PLS-SEM. This novel approach enables researchers to substantiate and improve their theories and helps practitioners disclose the must-have and should-have factors relevant to their decision-making.



This research uses the statistical software SmartPLS 3 ( Ringle acknowledges a financial interest in SmartPLS.


Richter, N.F., Schubring, S., Hauff, S., Ringle, C.M. and Sarstedt, M. (2020), "When predictors of outcomes are necessary: guidelines for the combined use of PLS-SEM and NCA", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 120 No. 12, pp. 2243-2267.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles