Abstract

Effectuation was introduced as a decision-making logic used by expert entrepreneurs in uncertain contexts (Sarasvathy, 2001). Having found a positive impact on company performance (e.g., Read et al., 2009) and acknowledging that organizations can behave in an entrepreneurial manner (Jennings & Lumpkin, 1989) and are also faced with unpredictable situations (Brettel et al., 2012), the research community started to discuss whether the subject of the first decade – the individual entrepreneur in a young firm – should be broadened to the corporate level (Perry et al., 2012; Berends et al., 2014). This call for an evolvement towards an “effectual orientation” (EffO) parallels the creation of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) by Covin and Slevin (1991).

However, the few previous firm-level studies have only focused on small and medium enterprises (i.a., Coviello & Joseph, 2012) and neglected theory-constituting benefits like performance improvements as well as moderating uncertainty factors, e.g., competitive landscape, for the most part (Arend et al., 2015). Moreover, they fell short of controlling for coexisting strategic orientations (Reymen et al., 2015).

In reply, this paper tries to advance effectuation research by being among the first to a) elaborate on the question how effectuation settles as strategic orientation in established corporations; b) prove a potential positive performance impact under uncertain environmental conditions; and c) shed light on how entrepreneurial and effectual orientation interrelate to each other.

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