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EFFECTUATION & NEWNESS: AN INTERTWINED RELATIONSHIP? (SUMMARY)

2009

Christophe Garonne Per Davidsson

Effectuation theory suggests that entrepreneurs develop their new ventures in an iterative way by selecting possibilities through flexibility and interactions with the market; a focus on affordability of loss rather than maximal return on the capital invested, and the development of pre-commitments and alliances from stakeholders (Sarasvathy, 2001, 2008; Sarasvathy et al., 2005, 2006). As Sarasvathy resumes, “effectuation is a straight inversion of rational choice theory” (Sarasvathy, 2001). However, little is known about the consequences of following either of these two processes. One aspect that remains unclear is the relationship between newness and effectuation. On one hand it can be argued that the combination of a means-centered, interactive and open-minded process should encourage and facilitate the development of innovative solutions. On the other hand, having a close relationship with their “future first customers” and focussing too much on the resources and knowledge already within the firm may be a constraint that is not conducive to innovation, or at least not to a radical innovation.

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