Career motives and entrepreneurial decision-making: examining preferences for causal and effectual logics in the early stage of new ventures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The influence of entrepreneurs' career motives is examined on two alternative modes of decision-making logic; causation and effectuation. Based on Sarasvathy's (Acad Manage Rev 26(2):243-288, 2001) seminal study, causation is defined as a decision-making process that focuses on what ought to be done given predetermined goals and possible means, and effectuation as a decision-making process emphasizing the question of what can be done given possible means and imagined ends. Analysis suggests that entrepreneurs who identify themselves with linear or expert career motives have a higher preference for causal decision-making logic. Entrepreneurs who identify themselves with spiral or transitory career motives have a higher preference for effectual decision-making logic. In addition, indications that prior start-up experience moderates the relationship between career motives and effectual decision-making logic for spiral-minded entrepreneurs is found. The overall results give ample support for the assumption that entrepreneurs' career motives influence their decision-making.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Career motives, Career experience, Entrepreneurial decision-making, Effectuation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-298
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch