Combining effectuation and causation approaches in entrepreneurship: A 20+ years review


  • Clarice Secches Kogut Escola de Negócios (IAG), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • Renato Dourado Cotta de Mello Instituto Coppead de Administração, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • Robert Skorupski Instituto Coppead de Administração, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil



Effectuation, Systematic literature review, Decision-making, Entrepreneurship


Objective of the study: This paper gathers, and reviews published empirical or theoretical articles in which the entrepreneurial logics of causation and effectuation, coined by Sarasvathy in 2001, are discussed to answer the research question of “Under what circumstances do firms combine effectuation with causation?”. Methodology/approach: The research is based on a systematic literature review of top-tier journals over a 20-year period. Main results: Findings suggest causation and effectuation logics can be applied simultaneously or in sequence, depending on factors at the micro (the entrepreneur), meso (the firm), and macro levels (business context—institutional and situational).  Theoretical/methodological contributions: It delivers a compiled, synthesized, and contrasted set of past work for future researchers to build upon and a preliminary conceptual matrix for further testing and refinement, not to mention an in-depth discussion at the micro, meso and macro level. Relevance/originality: Over 20 years after Sarasvathy’s seminal work, most literature investigating decision-making still focuses on contrasting the logics of causation or effectuation, not fully understanding the conditions under which each prevails or when they are combined. Social/management contributions: At the micro level, this research can help entrepreneurs better understand their profile and the benefits of considering both logics throughout their decision-making process. At the meso level, companies can benefit from understanding how logics relate at each life stage. Finally, at the macro level, policymakers and educators can help entrepreneurs navigate uncertain and turbulent environments if different logics and circumstances are more broadly acknowledged.


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Author Biographies

Clarice Secches Kogut, Escola de Negócios (IAG), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Professor of Strategy at IAG / PUC-Rio since Dec/2022. Previously, served as a member of COPPEAD Institute of Administration's faculty (2017-2022). Post-doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO / IAG), Ph.D. in Administration from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro / COPPEAD (2018), Master in Business Administration from Columbia University (2006), CFA (2004), and Bachelor in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (EAESP-FGV) (2001). Research interests and academic publications in Strategy and International Business. Executive and consulting experience of more than 20 years in planning, management, and strategy. Research funding: FAPERJ Scholarship (PSD-10 2019-2022) and CBF Academy/Coppead Chair (2021).

Renato Dourado Cotta de Mello, Instituto Coppead de Administração, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Professor of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, working at Coppead, where he has coordinated the Center for International Business Studies since 2009. Post-doctorate by the University of Ohio (2010), Doctor in Manufacturing Engineering by the Coordination of Graduate Programs in Engineering (COPPE) of UFRJ (2009), and Master in Administration by the COPPEAD Institute of Administration of UFRJ (1981). Experience in the realization of projects and studios in strategic planning, with emphasis on international business, covering mainly the following themes: business strategy, internationalization of Brazilian companies, and international enterprise. Tiene has several works published in domestic and international journals.

Robert Skorupski, Instituto Coppead de Administração, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Masters in Business Administration at COPPEAD/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to that, he holds an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering and business management by Nordakademie (Germany). His research interests include international business, business strategy, entrepreneurship and management. Mr. Skorupski does not work in academia.


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How to Cite

Kogut, C. S., Mello, R. D. C. de, & Skorupski, R. (2023). Combining effectuation and causation approaches in entrepreneurship: A 20+ years review. REGEPE Entrepreneurship and Small Business Journal, 12(3), e2226.



Research article (Theoretical-empirical)

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