Recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) is used for treatment of hemophilia patients with inhibitors, as well for off-label treatment of severe bleeding in trauma and surgery. Effective bleeding control requires supraphysiological doses of rFVIIa, posing both high expense and uncertain thrombotic risk. Two major competing theories offer different explanations for the supraphysiological rFVIIa dosing requirement: (1) the need to overcome competition between FVIIa and FVII zymogen for tissue factor (TF) binding, and (2) a high-dose-requiring phospholipid-related pathway of FVIIa action. In the present study, we found experimental conditions in which both mechanisms contribute simultaneously and independently to rFVIIa-driven thrombin generation in FVII-deficient human plasma. From mathematical simulations of our model of FX activation, which were confirmed by thrombin-generation experiments, we conclude that the action of rFVIIa at pharmacologic doses is dominated by the TF-dependent pathway with a minor contribution from a phospholipid-dependent mechanism. We established a dose-response curve for rFVIIa that is useful to explain dosing strategies. In the present study, we present a pathway to reconcile the 2 major mechanisms of rFVIIa action, a necessary step to understanding future dose optimization and evaluation of new rFVIIa analogs currently under development.