To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Effectuation in the undergraduate classroom: three barriers to entrepreneurial learning

Franziska Günzel-Jensen (Department of Management, Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, Denmark)
Sarah Robinson (Center for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, Denmark)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




Since Sarasvathy’s (2001) research on decision-making logics of expert entrepreneurs, effectuation has become a cornerstone in entrepreneurship education. Effectuation is not only subjectified in entrepreneurship education, but has also become conceptualized as a method in the learning process. The purpose of this paper is to explore how students, who are novice entrepreneurs, react to working effectually and which barriers they face when applying effectual decision-making logics in a university course.


A student-centered process course in entrepreneurship with 142 students provides a unique opportunity to explore the phenomena. Participant/teacher observations, written and oral work from the students and finally formal and informal written evaluations of the course by the students provide comprehensive data.


The authors find that students experience three barriers to using effectuation. These are: noviceness, regarding the project as a “school project,” perceived lack of legitimacy of both the instructors and the process.


The contribution of this study is threefold: first, to contribute to the understanding of the applicability of effectuation for novice entrepreneurs in the classroom; second, to articulate the factors that hinder entrepreneurial learning when effectuation is used in a process course; and third, to shed light on the importance of contextual factors for individual learning.



Günzel-Jensen, F. and Robinson, S. (2017), "Effectuation in the undergraduate classroom: three barriers to entrepreneurial learning", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 7/8, pp. 780-796.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited