University of Twente Student Theses


From improvising to strategising : student start-up decision-making processes during new venture creation.

Lukkien, J. (2021) From improvising to strategising : student start-up decision-making processes during new venture creation.

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Abstract:The process of new venture creation is characterized by a process of complex decision-making. Understanding the how and why of decision-making during the creation of a new venture is a widely researched area within the field of entrepreneurship. However, while many studies focus on how experienced and successful entrepreneurs make choices, few focus on inexperienced entrepreneurs. Student start-ups are quickly dominating the global market and as such, understanding how students, with little to no entrepreneurial experience, make choices that lead to the creation of new successful ventures, is an important area to study. Effectuation theory provides a framework through which the decision-making process can be better understood in the new venture creation process. Applying this theory to a new context of student entrepreneurs is important to understand its dynamics outside of the traditional serial- entrepreneur setting and develop the theory further. Therefore, this study adopts a retrospective, grounded theory, qualitative research design to investigate how and why inexperienced student start-ups make choices during the creation of their new venture. In this study, nine student start-up cases were analyzed through in-depth key-informant interviews to understand the decision-making logics used in relation to effectuation theory, and their motivations behind these logics. The results indicate that student start-ups rely on a combination of both effectuation and causation decision-making logics. Furthermore, the examination of the motivations behind decision events led to the development of the ‘student start-up decision model of effectuation’. This model develops effectuation theory further by providing two novel core components which motivate the use of effectuation or causation decision logics amongst student start-ups. First, the new venture creation phase of the start-up was found to influence the decision-making logics used by student start-ups. Later phases were found to be more complex, thus leading to a more causational approach to decision-making when compared to earlier phases. Secondly, the presence of influencer dimensions stemming from the student context play a role in the decision-making logics preferred during decision events. Here, start-up incubators, stakeholder influences, previous experiences of the entrepreneur(s), and the fact that students perceive themselves as having ‘nothing to lose’, influence the decision-making logics used during decision events. Further research should focus on empirically testing these new concepts in various student entrepreneurial settings to determine the degree to which these phases and influencer dimensions affect the decision-making process.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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