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Accounting for the Future: Psychological Aspects of Effectual Entrepreneurship

2003

Saras Sarasvathy Nick Dew Stuart Read Rob Wiltbank

Recent attempts to study entrepreneurship as a form of expertise, rather than a collection of traits and abilities have led to the development of the theory of effectuation. Effectuation is a sequence of non-predictive strategies in dynamic problem-solving that is primarily means-driven, where goals emerge as a consequence of stakeholder commitments rather than vice versa. Most important, effectuation isolates, identifies, and exploits techniques that seek to control the future without having to predict it. In this paper we (1) bring effectuation to psychology; (2) develop it further by examining key behavioral constructs that make effectual action possible; and, (3) derive possible implications for future research in psychology, particularly in relation to a more pluralistic understanding of human rationality.

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