Experts of thoroughness and fanatics of planning? Daring insights into the decision-making of German entrepreneurs

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This paper provides two daring insights into entrepreneurial decision-making: First, we show that the cliché of German entrepreneurs as experts of thoroughness and fanatics of planning is not compatible with effectual decision-making (Sarasvathy, 2001). Stereotypically, German entrepreneurs are supposed to use causal decision-making. This challenges the basic assumption of effectuation as a cross-cultural concept. Second, we shed light on the fuzzy role of entrepreneurial expertise for effectuation. Our study is based on a sample of entrepreneurs (N = 560) and a comparison group of non-entrepreneurs (N = 351). We employed a scenario-based questionnaire to examine participants' causal and effectual decision-making. Our ordered logit models reveal that German entrepreneurs use effectual decision-making more often – despite their image of causal and predictive business planning. Surprisingly, the level of entrepreneurial expertise did not influence this tendency. Hence, the role of entrepreneurial expertise and deliberate practice in effectuation theory has to be rethought.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)132 - 157
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Business planning, Causation, Deliberate practice, Effectuation, Entrepreneurial decision-making, Entrepreneurial expertise, German entrepreneurship, Germany, Ordered logit regression, Prediction, Scenario-based, Thoroughness
  • Management studies
  • Entrepreneurship