The spectrum of perceived uncertainty and entrepreneurial orientation: Impacts on effectuation

Birton Cowden, Kennesaw State University
Masoud Karami, Otago Business School
Jintong Tang, St. Louis University
Wenping Ye, University of Jinan


Effectuation research suggests that effectuation is most appropriate in pure uncertain conditions. However, effectuation research is unclear about how decision-makers respond to varying levels of perceived uncertainty. Behavioral decision-making research suggests that as uncertainty increases, decision-makers may attempt to protect the status quo rather than engage in new opportunities. The present study combines these thoughts to derive a curvilinear relationship between uncertainty and effectuation, providing a more realistic picture of decision-making logic applied by entrepreneurs of small businesses. We also argue that the curvilinear relationship is moderated by the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of the firm. We find, based on data from four samples of 990 entrepreneurs in three emerging economies,support for the curvilinear relationship and the negative moderating effect of EO. Our findings contribute to effectuation theory by extending its theoretical boundaries to include a spectrum of uncertainty.