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Effectuation and Deliberate Practice: Entrepreneurs’ Actions for Successful New Venture Creation

English title Effectuation and Deliberate Practice: Entrepreneurs’ Actions for Successful New Venture Creation
Applicant Müller Susan
Number 176354
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Berner Fachhochschule Wirtschaft Institut Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Institution of higher education Berne University of Applied Sciences - BFH
Main discipline Science of management
Start/End 01.04.2018 - 31.03.2023
Approved amount 674'654.00
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Keywords (7)

entrepreneur; behavior; behaviour; action; effectuation; deliberate practice; startup

Lay Summary (German)

Lediglich ein Drittel aller neu gegründeten Firmen entwickelt sich zu einer profitablen Firma (Reynolds, 2016). Eine zentrale Rolle spielen dabei die Aktivitäten der GründerInnen und inwiefern sie in der Lage sind, unternehmerische Expertise zu entwickeln. In beiden Bereichen ist bislang noch wenig empirisches Wissen vorhanden.
Lay summary

Das wissenschaftliche Verständnis darüber was GründerInnen tun, also ihre Aktivitäten und Verhaltensweisen, ist nach wie vor lückenhaft. Daher ist es bislang kaum möglich, Aussagen darüber zu treffen, welche Aktivitäten oder Verhaltensweisen für die Entstehung oder das Wachstum eines Unternehmens besonders förderlich sind. Auch ist wenig darüber bekannt, wie UnternehmerInnen lernen und Expertise entwickeln.

Mit unserer Studie möchten wir mithelfen diese Lücken zu schliessen. Wir werden dafür wichtige unternehmerische Aktivitäten von GründerInnen über den Zeitraum von einem Jahr dokumentieren. Nach einem weiteren Jahr werden wir dann den unternehmerischen Erfolg des Unternehmens erfassen und versuchen mit Hilfe der UnternehmerInnen herauszufinden, welche Aktivitäten, Verhaltensweisen und Entscheidungen für den Unternehmenserfolg sowie für die Entwicklung unternehmerischer Expertise besonders wichtig waren.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.03.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Project partner


Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
HEC Montréal Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Warwick Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication


Extant understanding of what entrepreneurs do that effectively leads to successes remains surprisingly poor. The reason is simple. While there is abundance of anecdotes about the mythical, super-human skills that many entrepreneurs manifest (Shane, 2008), theoretically rich and methodologically sophisticated investigations of the day-to-day efforts of entrepreneurs to be successful have been surprisingly rare. Because of this, the science of why certain actions are more likely to lead to positive entrepreneurial outcomes remains limited.Two related theoretical lenses hold promise for helping to address this research gap. On the one hand, decades of research in cognitive science point to the benefits of deliberate practice, that is, life-long, systematic and purposeful efforts to improve one’s performance of particular tasks (see Ericsson et al., 1993). On the another hand, more recent research on effectuation has highlighted that some expert entrepreneurs have come to develop unique yet particularly effective ways to approach the uncertainty characterizing entrepreneurial problems (Sarasvathy, 2008).To augment academic understanding of the reasons why some actions of entrepreneurs have particularly strong and positive impacts on their venture’s successes, we integrate the two pertinent notions of deliberate practice and effectuation to conduct a longitudinal empirical study that squarely focuses on entrepreneurs’ actions in situ, i.e. during the actual venture creation process. By doing so, we specifically aim to:(1) create theoretical knowledge about the manifestations and dynamics of effectuation principles,(2) establish a link between entrepreneurs’ actions and success,(3) understand the development of entrepreneurial expertise through deliberate practice, and(4) develop recommendations for entrepreneurship education.To reach these aims, we conduct an in-depth study of new-venture-launching actions of entrepreneurs with different levels of experience and expertise. The research design includes (1) a sample of highly-innovative entrepreneurs with different levels of experiences who are currently engaged in launching a new venture, (2) a one-year data collection phase in which we will document entrepreneurs’ actions in detail via different data collection methods such as structured interviews, structured observation, and diary method, (3) regular, short and targeted follow-ups during the following year to determine venture success and identifying actions that have been - most likely - important for venture success, and (4) a second data collection phase in which we determine the ventures’ success and engage with the entrepreneurs for a longer conversation to discuss the most important decisions leading to their current situation.