Fuzzy Profiles: Comparing and Contrasting Latent Profile Analysis and Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis for Person-Centered Research
Person-centered approaches to organizational scholarship can provide critical insights into how sets of related constructs uniquely combine to predict outcomes. Within micro topics, scholars have begun to embrace the use of latent profile analysis (LPA), identifying constellations of constructs related to organizational commitment, turnover intentions, emotional labor, recovery, and well-being, to name a few. Conversely, macro scholars have utilized fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine numerous phenomena, such as acquisitions and business strategies, as configurations of explanatory conditions associated with firm-level outcomes. What remains unclear, however, is the extent to which these two approaches deliver similar versus unique insights when applied to the same topic. In this paper, we offer an overview of the ways these two methods converge and diverge, and provide an empirical demonstration by applying both LPA and fsQCA to examine a multidimensional personality construct—core self-evaluations (CSE)—in relation to job satisfaction. In so doing, we offer guidance for scholars who are either choosing between these two methods, or are seeking to use the two methods in a complementary, theory-building manner.