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2012/2013  KAN-SOC_VFSE  Social Effectuation

English Title
Social Effectuation

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Changes in course schedule may occur
Wednesday 13.30-16.05, week 36-41, 43-46
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc of Social Science
Course coordinator
  • Ester Barinaga - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy

Administrative contact: Karina Ravn Nielsen, LPF/MPP,
electives.lpf@cbs.dk, direct phone 3815 3782
Main Category of the Course
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
Last updated on 27-04-2012
Learning objectives
The course aims at:
• Equip students with the analytical and planning tools necessary to launch a high impact social
• Provide students with the opportunity to apply the tools to develop their own social entrepreneurial
• Help students better assess their own potential and interest in becoming a social entrepreneur.
Oral exam based on mini-project:
Type of test Oral with Written Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term
Aids Without preparation
Duration 20 Minutes


Oral exam based on mini-project

Oral with written assignment, 7-step scale, internal censorship, fall term, duration 20 minutes.

The exam is an individual oral examination (20 minutes per student including grading) based on a miniproject.

The mini-project must be written in groups of 3-5 students (max. 15 pages) or individually (max. 10 pages). If a student is ill during the regular oral exam he/she will be able to re-use the miniproject at the make-up exam. If the student was ill during the writing of the mini-project and did not contribute to the mini-project, the make-up exam can be written individually or in groups (provided that other students are taking the make-up exam). If the student did not pass the regular exam, he/she must revise the mini-project (confer advice from the examiner) and hand it in on a new deadline specified by the secretariat.


For the mini-projects, students will be asked to do a feasibility study of their social entrepreneurial venture. That is, the mini-project should include the problem to be addressed, how it is to be addressed, how it creates social value, its funding strategy, as well as potential (or already established) collaborations.

Course content
Effectuation processes take a set of means as given and focus on selecting between possible effects that can be created with that set of means. Compare it to causation processes, that take a particular effect as given and focus on selecting between means to create that effect. These are, as it were, two distinct decision-making processes. The first starts with the means you (the potential entrepreneur) have and looks at what can be done with them; the second starts with a given goal and attempts to reach it regardless of the means you are actually able to gather (Sarasvathy, 2001).

This course takes its starting point in the difference between causation and effectuation processes. Whereas causation processes have traditionally dominated management and business education, effectuation processes have only recently gained momentum. This course will look at effectuation principles and apply them to the creation of students’ own social entrepreneurial ventures.

This course is venture based: it will be based on a passion oriented social venture that students cocreate. First because the most effective way to understand social entrepreneurship is to practice it. Second, because the course aims to promote a creative and proactive stance toward the society you live in, not merely an adaptive or critical one.

Thus, this course takes an experiential approach and students are expected to interact with civil society and the social entrepreneurial community, participate in class discussion, and be active participants in the teaching/learning process. Topics will include understanding the problem you want to address, assessing the opportunity, acknowledging the implicit theory of change, organizational form, funding your initiative, building your board, using social media for social ventures, pitching your initiative, measuring social impact, and the tradeoffs between social and financial returns on investment.

This course appeals to students with a strong desire to become social entrepreneurs, or work in a social startup, early stage or social entrepreneurial minded company that may be pursued now or later in their careers. It is also for those students who are considering obtaining jobs in consulting, social venture capital, or social foundations where they are dealing with new or relatively new social ventures.
Teaching methods
The course will combine a variety of methods, ranging from traditional lectures, case studies, study visits, guest speakers, reading groups, group presentations and the mini-project.
Students are expected to come prepared to engage with guest speakers, faculty, and class members, and
to participate in class discussion. Before each class, class members should have read the assigned
readings, thought about their application to the case/topic of the day and their particular social
ventures, and prepared to discuss the assigned study questions. On days when speakers have provided
background materials, students should have reviewed that material and thought about questions or
issues you would like them to address.
Expected literature
Preliminary course literature
Read, S., Sarasvathy, S., Dew, N. , Wiltbank, R. & Ohlsson, A. 2010. Effectual Entrepreneurship.
Abingdon/New York: Routledge.
Saras D. Sarasvathy. 2001. “Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic
inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency.” Academy of Management Review, 26(2): 243-263.

Teaching cases

Last updated on 27-04-2012