Embracing entrepreneurial action through effectuation in social enterprise

Chamindika Weerakoon, Byron Gales, Adela J. McMurray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Mainstream entrepreneurship research tends to adopt either the causation or effectuation perspective in their studies. Yet, the social enterprise literature has largely focussed on the bricolage perspective to explain social entrepreneurial action. The authors argue that when investigating legitimacy driven opportunity pursuit of an enterprise’s pre-emergence stage, all three perspectives of causation, effectuation and bricolage are required. The purpose of this paper was to address the research question how does effectuation determine entrepreneurial action in the pre-emergence of a social enterprise? Design/methodology/approach: An in-depth single case study approach was used based on the data provided by the founding entrepreneur of Good-Faith Learning social enterprise in Australia. Findings: The results demonstrated the complementary evolution of the three perspectives. In the following sequence, the effectuation, causation and bricolage actions were identified during the pre-emergence stage of the Good-Faith Learning social enterprise. Specifically, the input–process–output perspective of the study confirmed that the initial stage reflects on the effectual means linked to the causation-based strong articulation of the social vision and mission. The process stage dominates the bricolage approach to resourcing leading to effectual outcomes subsequently. Further, the specific actions of the pre-emergence stage are comprised legitimacy driven symbolic management approaches conveying the entrepreneur’s credibility and commitment, professional organising through website, gut-instinct based team selection, and organisational achievement. Research limitations/implications: The future research may conduct multiple case study analysis with multiple respondents to observe the consistency or deviations of the patterns identified in this study. Originality/value: This single case study demonstrates the complementary existence of causation, effectuation and bricolage elements in entrepreneurial actions in a single social enterprise context and advances the social entrepreneurship literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-214
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Bricolage
  • Case study
  • Causation
  • Effectuation
  • Entrepreneurial action
  • Social enterprise


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