Necessary conditions in IB Research: Advancing the field with a new perspective on causality and data analysis

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Many researchers in international business (IB) refer to necessity when they theorize about the relationships between different variables. However, necessary conditions involve a specific causal logic: they represent constraints, bottlenecks, or critical factors that must be overcome so that a desired outcome can exist. Usually, this is not fully acknowledged neither in theoretical thinking nor in empirical research. In this paper, we demonstrate the relevance of necessary conditions in IB research and discuss how an adequate consideration of necessity logic can advance the field. Furthermore, we introduce necessary condition analysis (NCA), a new analytical technique that identifies necessary conditions in data sets. We illustrate its application by analyzing whether certain institutional factors are necessary conditions for inward foreign direct investment. Finally, we assess the values of necessity logic and NCA as new approaches to think about causality and to analyze data in IB.
PeriodJun 2021
Event titleAcademy of International Business (AIB) 2021
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Necessity logic
  • Necessary condition analysis
  • IB research