Effectuation Research: Taking Stock and Moving Forward

Effectuation changed the way we think about entrepreneurship. Until recently, most research in entrepreneurship conceptualizes new venture creation as a rational, goal-driven, and mostly linear process. Sarasvathy’s work (2001, 2008) though suggests that entrepreneurs employ a different logic when pursuing opportunities. Despite the perceived growing popularity of effectuation, a surprisingly small number of researchers have engaged in resolving some of its shortcomings (Perry et al, 2011). For instance, effectuation measurement is not yet developed to an acceptable level. Chandler and colleagues (2010) find that effectuation is a multi-dimensional construct while causation could only be measured uni-dimensionally. At the same time, some important theoretical tenets such as pre-commitments and alliances appear in both causation and effectuation measurements (Chandler et al., 2010). Also theoretically and philosophically the effectuation construct requires further development. It is, for example, not entirely clear how effectuation relates to and is different from other constructs such as improvisation, experimentation, and bricolage (Fisher, 2012), or what exactly is the role of planning in effectuation processes. The purpose of this symposium is to engage a global group of experts in the fields of entrepreneurship strategy, organization behavior, and decision-making in an interactive discussion about how to move the effectuation concept further. The discussion will be structured around the following questions: a) How can effectuation be better conceptualized to describe how entrepreneurs act? b) Is effectuation unique to entrepreneurship? Is it applicable to other contexts and, if so, which ones and how? c) How can effectuation research benefit from and contribute to research and theory in other fields? d) How can effectuation be measured in a reliable and valid way? e) How can effectuation be made more valuable to practitioners? This proposal for a symposium is particularly opportune considering that the Academy of Management Review has just published a fresh critique of effectuation, one of the co- authors of which has agreed to participate here. We believe there is enough interest on this topic at this time for the symposium to blossom into a journal special issue on the topic.

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Academy of Management Proceedings
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