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

Nicole Franziska Richter, Sandra Schubing, Sven Hauff, Christian M. Ringle, Marko Sarstedt

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Purpose – 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.
Design/methodology/approach – 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.
Findings – 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.
Originality/value – 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 decisionmaking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Management & Data Systems
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2243-2267
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Necessary condition analysis
  • Partial least squares
  • Structural equation modeling (SEM)
  • Technology acceptance
  • TAM
  • Technology acceptance model
  • Structural equation modeling
  • PLS
  • SEM
  • NCA


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