Past Career in Future Thinking: How Career Management Practices Shape Entrepreneurial Decision Making

Research Summary: This study builds a grounded model of how careers shape entrepreneurs’ preferences for causal and effectual decision logics when starting new ventures. Using both verbal protocol analysis and interviews, we adopt a qualitative research approach to induct career management practices germane to entrepreneurial decision making. Based on our empirical findings, we develop a model conceptualizing how configurations of career management practices, reflecting different emphases on career planning and career investment, are linked to entrepreneurial decision making through the imprint that they leave on one’s view of the future, generating a tendency toward predictive and/or creative control. These findings extend effectuation theorizing by reformulating one of its most pervasive assumptions and showing how careers produce distinct pathways to entrepreneurial thinking, even prior to entrepreneurial entry. Managerial Summary: Treating your own career as a start-up impacts how you make decisions when actually becoming an entrepreneur. Based on empirical findings, we explain why and how sets of career management practices are distinctively linked to the use of different logics when making entrepreneurial decisions. Individuals who throughout their careers have emphasized investments in skills and networks over efforts to forecast and plan develop a general view of the future in which creative control dominates predictive control. The opposite is true for those who rely on managing their careers through planning but remain passive in their career investments. Upon entry to entrepreneurship, these differences become relevant such that some entrepreneurs rely on attempts to predict the future while others actively try to create it. © 2016 The Authors. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal published by Strategic Management Society.

Journal or Publication:
Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Yuval Engel
Elco van Burg
Emma Kleijn
Svetlana Khapova
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