Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

First Advisor

Dr Nicole Coviello

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr Sarah Wilner

Advisor Role

Committee member

Third Advisor

Dr Scott Ensign

Advisor Role

Committee member


The notion of co-creating opportunities positions effectuation as both a network-driving and network-dependent phenomenon. On one hand, networks are products of relational interactions and, therefore, artefactual outcomes of effectual processes. On the other hand, it would seem that understanding networks and network processes is essential to understanding effectuation. Although past research acknowledges this mutuality, recent discourse highlights that our understanding of the relationship between effectuation and networks is far from complete. In this dissertation, I address this knowledge gap through three essays positioned at the interface of effectuation and network theory.

In the first essay, my systematic literature review synthesizes and critically assesses the literature surrounding the how, why, and what of network development under effectuation. The review offers a comprehensive perspective on the distinctive aspects of network development under effectuation and identifies that understanding of effectual networking and networks is fragmented, incomplete and constrained by a lack of construct and contextual clarity. I present alternate perspectives on constructs and assumptions, integrate network theory into effectuation, postulate on the effectual character of networks, and generate important trajectories for future research.

In essay two, I argue that the implementation of effectuation is influenced by the characteristics of pre-existing and emerging networks and by the processes through which these networks come about. I also develop a multi-level, multi-theoretical reconceptualization of effectuation that provides for (e.g.) simultaneous use of effectual and causal logics, co-construction of knowledge, identity, and social capital within and across network levels, and the distributed agency and collective cognition of network members. I also address changing uncertainty, nuances of effectual interactions, and evolving market dynamics. My propositions offer direction for weaving together effectuation and network theory at multiple levels.

Finally, essay three compares network development under effectual and causal logics by tracking the start-up efforts of six technology entrepreneurs. I find traditional approaches of treating entrepreneurial opportunities and networks as holistic phenomena are problematic. Opportunities are better viewed as amalgams of ideas that must be generated, refined, and acted upon. I also find that entrepreneurs do not develop an entrepreneurial network per se. They co-create a series of idea-relevant networks that can differ in terms of their characteristics, durability, and contingent effects. Importantly, context and logics employed vary across (and temporally within) these networks where developmental processes under causation and effectuation exhibit similarities and distinctive elements. Finally, I distinguish between ‘effectual networks’, ‘effectual networking’, and networks that develop more generally.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season