Effectuation and the dialectic of control

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Abstract

Proposed as inverse of causation, effectuation logic holds that expert entrepreneurial action begins not with a predetermined exogenous opportunity of a predicted future goal but with a given set of means and fluid future ends. Control, not prediction, is the central theme of the effectuation logic Sarasvathy (2001; 2005; 2008) proposes explaining opportunity creation under uncertainty as an endogenous process”. How does a resource-poor start-up entrepreneur exercise effectual control? Exploring this apparent contradiction through in-depth qualitative data, the paper suggests effectual control to be a relational construct and theoretically better understood as a ‘dialectic of control’ described in Giddens’ (1979; 1982; 1984) social theory of structuration. The paper conceptualises effectual control as a dialectic that explicitly recognises the autonomy of other stakeholders in entrepreneurial opportunity formation advancing the theoretical understanding of effectuation, and suggests the clarification that an effectuating entrepreneur attempts to control not the future but the enhancing means in the present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
JournalSmall Enterprise Research
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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