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Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise (New Horizons in Entrepreneurship)
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`The concept of effectuation is as subtle as it is profound. On the one hand, it challenges long held beliefs about the nature of cause and effect in social science. On the other hand, it generates a host of new insights about social phenomena. This concept is particularly well suited to analyzing entrepreneurial behavior - behaviors undertaken in settings where the relationship between cause and effect is understood, at best, very poorly.' -- Jay B. Barney, The Ohio State University, US `Things rarely turn out as we expected or intended. Neither rational choice between well-defined prospects nor commitment to a vision, which can be realised by will power or persuasion, offers a credible representation of much human activity - even the activities of entrepreneurs. But although uncertainty (or unknowledge) is inescapable it may be productively managed. If we understand our present circumstances and some of its possibilities, build constructive relationships with others, and be ready to adjust both our objectives and the means of achieving them in order to take advantage of new contingencies, then we can at least participate in shaping our own future. By taking this perspective Saras Sarasvathy makes entrepreneurship a natural human activity, expressing the limitations and potential of human motivation and human intelligence.' -- Brian J. Loasby, University of Stirling, UK `In Effectuation Saras Sarasvathy presents a carefully researched and reasoned view of entrepreneurial behavior that both challenges and extends prevailing wisdom in the field. There is little doubt that these ideas will serve as an important foundation for anyone desirous of stimulating positive action in the world. With Effectuation we are equipped to provide a generation of students and managers with the methods to make and find opportunities that create value. . . everywhere.' -- Leonard A. Schlesinger, President, Babson College, US
About the Author
Saras D. Sarasvathy, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, US
Top customer reviews
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Make no mistake about it, this book is NOT casual reading. Nor is it a textbook or practical guide to building an entrepreneurial venture. It is an academic treatise that explains many years of research, including the author's initial interest and rationale for pursuing this line of research, historical perspectives, design of the studies, interpretation of the data, and ultimately her final observations about how expert entrepreneurs (EEs) behave. For example:
*EEs start with a given set of means, rather than a predetermined goal, allowing opportunities to emerge
*EEs focus on spending what they can afford to lose, rather than seeking to optimize financial returns
*EEs don't think about competition; instead they work with customers and partners to fabricate a market
There's a tremendous amount of detail and information in the book that discusses how expert entrepreneurs behave. Beyond these individuals, I'm hopeful that the message of the book will have implications for other individuals and organizations, including corporations and governments, that often work under conditions of Knightian uncertainty but may not recognize or acknowledge this (if only because they don't know what to do in such situations). This book provides lessons and ideas that can help every individual and organization to be more effective.
Steven K. Gold
Senior Partner for Entrepreneurship, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Author of Entrepreneur's Notebook: Practical Advice for Starting a New Business Venture
I'm halfway though this book it's opening up my mind to the way good entrepreneurship really works. I did not use much of what I learned in my MS & MBA when I started my ventures, and I always thought I was doing something wrong. Not so. There is an entirely different way that successful entrepreneurs work than the formal approach we are taught in business school and corporate management training programs. This is absolutely required reading for anyone formally trained in business/management to be able to "unlearn" some paralyzing principles and use the classical vs effectual modes of operation as needed.
At least one star needs to be deducted because of unnecessary complexity. The author did a terrible job simplifying her wonderful research into an accessible book for the masses. It was written for academics with advanced degrees, and those of us on the front lines have to wade through pages of unnecessary sidebars, opaque references to research no one will have read, and forays of mental masturbation in order to extract the nuggets, as valuable as they are. This has to be the slowest voluntary read that I've ever endured. It's frustrating because anyone can see how 5 pages could be reduced to a paragraph, or at least made more clear. Crack the cover if you can and you'll see. I hope the author will develop a thinner version with the help of a mainstream writer. If it was even at the level of writing of the Economist magazine her work could have a far wider reach and benefit.
You'll get 50% of the book's insights by watching the author's interview videos in about 2% of the time. However they won't stick with you as well as they will if you work through this book, and believe me these are insights which you want to make central to the way you view your business as an entrepreneur. The value of this research as a contribution to the body of knowledge about entrepreneurship cannot be overstated. The value of this book to an entrepreneur is about that of other life-changers like The E-Myth Revisited. Highly recommended - unless a subsequent, better-written work is produced.
Effectual thinking was identified by Dr. Saras Sarasvathy when she interviewed highly successful entrepreneurs for her doctoral dissertation, but she clearly states that this way of thinking can be applied far more widely than simply in commercial enterprise.
While I do teach young people about creativity and innovation, I am not a scholar but more of a practitioner. Nor am I a psychologist, so reading this book is challenging in places yet was well worth my effort.
As you probably see from the five-star rating, I recommend this book highly, especially if you want to learn much about how humans can innovate and change lives for the better. I predict that if any reader is an effectual thinker the book will speak to her or him on a personal level.
The Mark E. Johnston Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies
Manchester University, Indiana, US