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Building Generalizable Case-Based Theory in Human Resources Management

Improving the Marriage of Modeling and Theory for Accurate Forecasts of Outcomes

ISBN: 978-1-78635-122-7, eISBN: 978-1-78635-121-0

ISSN: 1069-0964

Publication date: 29 January 2018


This study applies asymmetric rather than conventional symmetric analysis to advance theory in occupational psychology. The study applies systematic case-based analyses to model complex relations among conditions (i.e., configurations of high and low scores for variables) in terms of set memberships of managers. The study uses Boolean algebra to identify configurations (i.e., recipes) reflecting complex conditions sufficient for the occurrence of outcomes of interest (e.g., high versus low financial job stress, job strain, and job satisfaction). The study applies complexity theory tenets to offer a nuanced perspective concerning the occurrence of contrarian cases – for example, in identifying different cases (e.g., managers) with high membership scores in a variable (e.g., core self-evaluation) who have low job satisfaction scores and when different cases with low membership scores in the same variable have high job satisfaction. In a large-scale empirical study of managers (n = 928) in four (contextual) segments of the farm industry in New Zealand, this study tests the fit and predictive validities of set membership configurations for simple and complex antecedent conditions that indicate high/low core self-evaluations, job stress, and high/low job satisfaction. The findings support the conclusion that complexity theory in combination with configural analysis offers useful insights for explaining nuances in the causes and outcomes to high stress as well as low stress among farm managers. Some findings support and some are contrary to symmetric relationship findings (i.e., highly significant correlations that support main effect hypotheses).



Ang, H.B.(. and Woodside, A.G. (2018), "Building Generalizable Case-Based Theory in Human Resources Management", Improving the Marriage of Modeling and Theory for Accurate Forecasts of Outcomes (Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 85-154.



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