Causation and effectuation processes: A validation study

Gaylen N. Chandler, Dawn R. DeTienne, Alexander McKelvie, Troy V. Mumford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

553 Scopus citations


We develop and validate measures of causation and effectuation approaches to new venture creation and test our measures with two samples of entrepreneurs in young firms. Our measure of causation is a well-defined and coherent uni-dimensional construct. We propose that effectuation is a formative, multidimensional construct with three associated sub-dimensions (experimentation, affordable loss, and flexibility) and one dimension shared with the causation construct (pre-commitments). As specified by Sarasvathy (2001), we also show that causation is negatively associated with uncertainty, while experimentation, a sub-dimension of effectuation, is positively correlated with uncertainty. The major contribution is the resulting validated scales that measure causation and effectuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-390
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Causation
  • Effectuation
  • Measurement validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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