A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis of factors influencing successful shared service center implementation

Albert Plugge*, Shahrokh Nikou, Marijn Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Organizations nowadays require services supplied by shared service centers (SSCs) to achieve organizational responsiveness. Previous contributions focused on distinct qualitative-explorative factors for explaining successful SSC implementation but failed to consider the interdependencies and combined effects between factors. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on complexity and configuration theories, this research employed a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). A unique dataset of 121 international firms was obtained to examine the combined effects of five conditions (factors), namely, modularization, standardization, decision-rights, portfolio and customer-orientation. Findings: The findings show that multiple configurations of conditions (or solutions) can lead to successful SSC implementation. The fsQCA results indicated that portfolio and standardization are perceived as core conditions in all configurations. Firms that focus on portfolio and continuous evaluation of customer-orientation are more likely to be successful. Furthermore, in some configurations, the size of the firm size matters. Research limitations/implications: The cross-sectional survey data might be a potential limitation. In future research, a more extensive survey can be collected to help generalize the results. Practical implications: Success factors are dependent on the SSC configuration. Standardization, portfolio management and regular evaluations of changing customer services by executive management are needed. Originality/value: To the best of the authors' knowledge, there is no academic study that examines SSC implementation based on salient conditions using a configurational thinking approach. As such, the findings of the research allow us to better understand the causal complexity and interdependencies between essential SSC factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-941
Number of pages22
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Configurations
  • Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA)
  • Portfolio
  • Shared service center
  • Standardization


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