Small Business Economics

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 281–298

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


DOI: 10.1007/s11187-009-9217-3

Cite this article as:
Gabrielsson, J. & Politis, D. Small Bus Econ (2011) 36: 281. doi:10.1007/s11187-009-9217-3


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.


Career motivesCareer experienceEntrepreneurial decision-makingEffectuation

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Halmstad UniversityHalmstadSweden