Understanding dynamics of strategic decision-making in venture creation : a process study of effectuation and causation

I.M.M.J. Reymen, P. Andries, J.J. Berends, R. Mauer, U. Stephan, J.C. Burg, van

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The process of new venture creation is characterized by the need to decide and take action in the face of uncertainty. Especially in the context of technology-based ventures uncertainty is substantial, posing difficulties for strategic decision-making based on prediction and planning. As alternative, more flexible and adaptive decision-making logics are being advanced. This study draws upon effectuation and causation as examples of planning-based and flexible decision-making logics, and investigates dynamics in the use of both logics. The study applies a longitudinal process research approach to investigate strategic decision-making in new venture creation over time. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods, we analyze 385 decision events across nine technology-based ventures. Our observations suggest a hybrid perspective on strategic decision-making, demonstrating how effectuation and causation logics are combined, and how entrepreneurs’ emphasis on these logics shifts and re-shifts over time. From our data, we induce a dynamic model which extends the literature on strategic decision-making in venture creation, illustrating how external and venture conditions - including not only uncertainty but also resource position and stakeholder pressure - lead to changes in venture scope, and thereby to shifts in the use of decision-making logics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-379
JournalStrategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • decision making
  • effectuation
  • new venture creation
  • uncertainty
  • process research

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