Entrepreneurial Methods as Vehicles of Entrepreneurial Action
Doctoral thesis, 2017

Entrepreneurship in general and entrepreneurship education in particular are becoming more accredited and institutionalized. This is evidenced by a large number of entrepreneurship courses and programs offered in top-tier universities worldwide. However, with some notable exceptions such as effectuation and the lean startup methodology, this trend has not been matched by the formulation and dissemination of hands-on knowledge and actionable theories that aim to aid entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship students, startup coaches, and accelerator managers. Moreover, the existing theories have typically been developed in isolation and often without explicit consideration of issues that reflect their pragmatic validity. This has rendered them into separate silos of knowledge that neither interact with nor build on each other and resulted in their impracticality, betraying their core application. The purpose of this dissertation is, therefore, to examine the general form of such theories, reflect on the specific content of their prescriptions, gain insights into their application and explore issues in relation to their pragmatic value. Through theoretical and empirical studies, this dissertation seeks to develop and advance the current understanding of entrepreneurial methods. As part of the theoretical efforts, a number of concepts and terms are introduced by way of reviewing nine entrepreneurial methods. Entrepreneurial method, as a broad unifying concept, refers to theories that package a coherent set of principles of thought and action that helps entrepreneurs to structure their venture development activities. Moreover, as an organizing framework for understanding the general form and content of entrepreneurial methods, a hierarchical three-tier framework composed of logic, model, and tactics is proposed. Furthermore, a careful and detailed review of the existing entrepreneurial methods provides deep insights into their constituting, prescriptive content. These contributions synthesize new avenues to compare, contrast and make sense of entrepreneurial methods and open up windows for improvements in their prescriptions and structure. Empirical studies focus on the workings of a prevalent instance of entrepreneurial method, namely the lean startup methodology. They examine, in different ways, the impact of incorporating the lean startup methodology into the ongoing processes of two separate startup accelerators. These studies shine a light on how the lean startup methodology influences entrepreneurs by unpacking the learning mechanisms involved in incorporating the principles of the methodology into entrepreneurs’ theory of action. Moreover, the findings show how following the methodology can fundamentally impact the form, content, and organization of entrepreneur-coach relationships in the context of prescriptive accelerators. Taken together, in addition to taking stock of the current trend toward explicit attempts to guide entrepreneurial action, such an examination can enable attempts to modify and further develop the existing entrepreneurial methods, and potentially guide the formulation of new entrepreneurial methods.

Entrepreneurial methods

startup accelerators

organizing framework

actionable knowledge

prescriptive theories of entrepreneurial action

Vasa C, Vera Sandbergs allé 8
Opponent: Professor Georges Romme, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands


Yashar Mansoori

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategy

Enacting the lean startup methodology: The role of vicarious and experiential learning processes

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research,; Vol. 23(2017)p. 812-838

Journal article

Mansoori, Y., & Lackéus, M. 2017. Comparing Effectuation to Five Other Entrepreneurial Methods Along Nine Conceptual Dimensions

Mansoori, Y., Karlsson, T., & Lundqvist, M. 2017. Entrepreneurial Methods as Structuring Tools for Entrepreneur-Coach Relationships: The Case of the Lean Startup Methodology in a University-Based Accelerator

Berglund, H., Mansoori, Y., & Bousfiha, M. 2015. Entrepreneurship as Design: A Literature Review and Typology

In the year 1985, the late Peter Drucker, a leader in the development of management education, claimed that entrepreneurship “is a discipline and like any discipline, it can be learned”. It is true that some of the most successful startup founders were university dropouts who didn’t necessarily take courses in entrepreneurship, but have surely benefited from exposure to learning opportunities that encapsulated some of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Exposure to random and limited experiential learning episodes have helped to channel these founders’ efforts into multi-billion dollar businesses. It is, therefore, possible to claim that effective learning environments and impactful teaching materials can facilitate and further spur entrepreneurial activities. The entrepreneurial journey, then, should not be viewed as trial and error or luck, but rather as a systematic progression of purposefully designed activities. In order to provide such learning environments and teaching materials, we need to develop and advance our understanding of the existing theories of entrepreneurship, particularly the practical theories of entrepreneurship. The outcome of such an endeavor has apparent relevance to the persistent gap between theory and practice of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial methods, as part of the practical contributions in entrepreneurship, can be seen as packages that contain the fundamentals of entrepreneurship with important educational potentials. One way to make possible impactful teaching aimed at entrepreneurs is through dissemination and application of systematic entrepreneurial methods. This is the purpose of this dissertation. By focusing on such systematic methods for developing businesses, this dissertation brings clarity to the form these methods take and the content they provide and provides insights on what happens when they are used. The contributions of this dissertation have relevance for both the theory and practice of entrepreneurship. By highlighting aspects of these entrepreneurial methods that are either implicit or hidden in layers of theorization, these contributions allow for further development, amendment or modification of existing entrepreneurial methods. This results in more relevant and pragmatic entrepreneurship theories. What is more, by investigating the influence of using the lean startup methodology, a prominent and prevalent example of entrepreneurial method, the contributions provide important and much needed knowledge into the workings of prescriptive business accelerators. These contributions shine a light into the teaching and learning environments as part of such accelerators. This dissertation will be of great use for entrepreneurship educators, business coaches, business accelerator managers, and more importantly entrepreneurs themselves.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Subject Categories

Economics and Business



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4320



Vasa C, Vera Sandbergs allé 8

Opponent: Professor Georges Romme, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

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