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Epistemic pluralism in understanding entrepreneurial behaviour: from causality to effectuation

Sankaran, Kizhekepat (2010) Epistemic pluralism in understanding entrepreneurial behaviour: from causality to effectuation. In: 34th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference, 2011-11-09 - 2011-11-10, The Octagon. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This theoretical paper shows a powerful way to reconceptualise - in a constructivist manner - Effectuation, an idea in entrepreneurship inquiry that has captured the imagination of several entrepreneurship researchers. The paper takes the view that Effectuation has to be conceptualized more than as a replacement to existing decision-making approaches. Instead, the paper shows how Effectuation incorporates ideas from some of these approaches. The paper warns of the danger of the rhetoric of Effectuation creating an “either-or” argument that would result in wrongly challenging reasonableness and logical thinking. The paper shows that Effectuation has elements of simple causal (rational and teleological) logic and adaptive logics embedded in it, while at the same time it being much more than these. The argument is illustrated with examples and frameworks that construct one over the other. This paper shows that Effectuation is a sophisticated explanation of entrepreneurial thinking and design that also accounts for double-loop learning processes, experiential learning and intuition incorporating some of the recent advances in cognitive psychology.