Department of Management

Effectuation in the undergraduate classroom: Three barriers to entrepreneurial learning

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review



Purpose: Since Sarasvathy’s (2001) research on decision making logics of expert entrepreneurs effectuation has become a corner stone in entrepreneurship education. Effectuation is not only subjectified in EE but has also become conceptualized as a method in the learning process. This paper aims at exploring how students, who are novice entrepreneurs, react to working effectually and which barriers they face when applying effectual decision making logics in a university course.

Design/methodology/approach: A student-centered process course in entrepreneurship with 142 students provides an unique opportunity to explore the phenomena. Participant/teacher observations, written and oral work from the students and finally formal and informal written evaluations of the course by the students provide comprehensive data.

Findings: We find that students experience three barriers to using effectuation. These are i) noviceness, ii) regarding the project as a ‘school project’, iii) perceived lack of legitimacy of both the instructors and the process.

Originality/value: The contribution of this study is threefold: first, to contribute to our understanding of the applicability of effectuation for novice entrepreneurs in the classroom, second, to articulate the factors that hinder entrepreneurial learning when effectuation is used in a process course and third, to shed light on the importance of contextual factors for individual learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation + Training
Pages (from-to)780-796
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Entrepreneurship Education, effectuation, undergraduates, novice entrepreneur, case study

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