Serendipity and its Role in the Discovery of Entrepreneurial Opportunities

  • Julie McFarlane (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


    Given the uncertain and fluid processes underpinning entrepreneurial activities, there is a well-rehearsed body of literature which testifies to the uncertain and diverse opportunity search activities which come to fruition through luck, chance and accident disrupting efforts for systematic planning (Shane, 2000; Fiet,2002). Yet, a detailed discussion of the nature of fortuitous discoveries or serendipitous encounters is largely absent from existing analyses (Moroz and Hindle, 2010). More recently, a number of promising strands of research have emerged in this area which have recognised serendipity as an import influence on entrepreneurial opportunities (Merrilees, Miller, and Tiessen, 2015; Casulli and Dimov, 2012). This study aims to add to this body of research by creating a central role for serendipity in the entrepreneurial process. Drawing on Sarasvathy’s (2001) dynamic process model of causal and effectual logic and Dew’s (2009) view of serendipity we explore how the latter construct might analytically span these logics. We provide an account of how serendipity, defined as a combinational concept that captures search, prior knowledge, and contingency acts as the bridge between causal and effectual logic within the opportunity identification process. This discussion is empirically illustrated by an interpretive study of musicians who have acted entrepreneurially to develop their careers or successfully developed new ventures within the entertainment industry. The presentation will share early thematic outcomes of this research project which supports the assertion that serendipity acts as the bridge between causal and effectual logic within the opportunity identification process, and will conclude with a consideration of the contribution and implications of the research.
    Period16 Mar 2016
    Event typeSeminar
    LocationNottingham, United KingdomShow on map


    • Serendipity
    • Opportunity Recognition
    • Effectuation
    • Music Industry
    • Glasgow
    • Entrepreneurship