Mindful deviation through combining causation and effectuation: a design theory-based study of technology entrepreneurship

Technology entrepreneurship can be seen as building upon, while also deviating from, technological paths. Such deviation has primarily been described as singular events where individuals with prior knowledge discover a new opportunity. In this article, we will instead study deviation as a process of collective decision making, seen more as something mindful than singular. The purpose is to explore mindful deviation as decision making by nascent technology entrepreneurs as they conceptualize an early platform technology. Based on case assignments undertaken by 13 teams in a venture creation programme, C-K design theory is used to trace how nascent technology entrepreneurs in action combine causal and effectual decision-making logics. Individually answered questionnaires also offered insights into how the entrepreneurs perceived their decision making in hindsight. The findings break with our received wisdom around how opportunities are recognized as well as how effectual and causal logics occur. As a result, mindful deviation through combinations of effectual and causal logic is suggested as a means to understand early-stage technology entrepreneurship.

Journal or Publication:
Creativity and Innovation Management
K Middleton
M Johanson
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