Serendipity and its role in the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities

Julie McFarlane, Sara Carter

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This paper examines the role of serendipity in the entrepreneurial process in the context of the UK’s creative economy, with the music industry in Glasgow taken as its exemplar. The study draws upon primary evidence to provide an empirical account of how serendipity acts as the bridge between causal and effectual logic within the opportunity identification process. Dew’s (2009) inclusion of serendipity in this journal prompted its discussion in this study, while Martello (1994) provided the framework used to understand serendipity as a construct. The study assumes that Sarasvathy’s (2001) causal and effectual logics drive the process at agent level. Empirical data was collected via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 16 music-entrepreneurs working within Glasgow’s independent rock music sector. The findings suggest that causal logic inspires their initial search, a process or event of recognition, following a systematic search or a chance encounter, inspires the fit between the individual and the idea and finally, the deployment of effectuation logic underpins the exploitation stage, enabling entrepreneurs to work within their given set of means. This study contributes to emerging discourses exploring the nature of the entrepreneurial process as well as adding to the sparse empirical analyses on music-entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016
EventEGOS 2016: 32nd Colloquium of the European Group for Organizational Studies - University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


ConferenceEGOS 2016
Abbreviated title32nd EGOS Colloquium
Internet address


  • music industry
  • creative industries
  • entrepreneurship
  • creative entrepreneurs
  • Glasgow


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