Enacting the lean startup methodology: The role of vicarious and experiential learning processes
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2017

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how the instructions of the lean startup methodology influence entrepreneurs. It explores what happens when such instructions are enacted by entrepreneurs in the context of a “prescriptive accelerator”. The goal is to shine a light onto the mechanisms by which these instructions are acquired and then utilised by entrepreneurs and to outline in some detail the implications of adhering to the lean startup methodology. Design/methodology/approach – This paper employs an in-depth phenomenological semi-structured interview design. Two rounds of interviews were conducted, one at the beginning and one at the end of the programme with the CEOs and founders of 11 entrepreneurial ventures, totalling 22 interviews. The analysis of the interviews resulted in five second-order themes that are discussed in light of the processes of experiential and vicarious learning. Findings – The findings suggest that through two distinct modes of vicarious and experiential learning, the instructions of the lean startup methodology are acquired, internalised and consequently put into practice by entrepreneurs. The paper further highlights the modifications to entrepreneurs’ governing variables and action strategies, as well as the resulting consequences of these modifications. This provides insights into possible outcomes of following the lean startup methodology in the context of a prescriptive accelerator where a strong focus on adhering to a systematic entrepreneurial methodology is a characteristic feature. Originality/value – This paper contributes to our understanding of the under-studied and novel phenomena of the lean startup methodology and prescriptive accelerators. It complements the prevailing understanding of entrepreneurial learning as being largely experiential by accounting for the vicarious learning processes that occur in pedagogical settings such as prescriptive accelerators. It therefore shows that prescriptive accelerators provide unique learning situations where the combination of vicarious and experiential learning impacts the business development activities. Further, it provides a model of entrepreneurs’ theory of action as the outcome of the interactions between the lean startup methodology and the two modes of vicarious and experiential learning.

Entrepreneurs’ theory of action

The lean startup methodology

Vicarious learning

Experiential learning

Entrepreneurial learning

Prescriptive accelerators


Yashar Mansoori

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research

1355-2554 (ISSN)

Vol. 23 5 812-838


Innovation och entreprenörskap


Ekonomi och näringsliv

Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap



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