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This important series is designed to make a significant contribution to the development of Entrepreneurship Studies. As this field has expanded dramatically in recent years, the series will provide an invaluable forum for the publication of high-quality works of scholarship and show the diversity of issues and practices around the world. The main emphasis of the series is on the development and application of new and original ideas in Entrepreneurship. Global in its approach, it includes some of the best theoretical and empirical work with contributions to fundamental principles, rigorous evalutions of existing concepts and competing theories, historical surveys and future visions. Titles include original monographs, edited collections, and texts. Titles in the series include: A General Theory of Entrepreneurship The Individual–Opportunity Nexus Scott Shane Academic Entrepreneurship University Spinoffs and Wealth Creation Scott Shane Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship Government, University and Business Linkages Edited by Scott Shane Growth Oriented Women Entrepreneurs and their Businesses A Global Research Perspective Edited by Candida G. Brush Nancy M. Carter, Elizabeth J. Gatewood, Patricia G. Greene and Myra M. Hart Women Entrepreneurs Across Racial Lines Issues of Human Capital, Financial Capital and Network Structures Andreas E. Smith-Hunter Effectuation Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise Saras D. Sarasvathy

Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise

Saras D. Sarasvathy
University of Virginia, USA


Edward Elgar
Cheltenham, UK • Northampton, MA, USA

© Saras D. Sarasvathy 2008 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Published by Edward Elgar Publishing Limited Glensanda House Montpellier Parade Cheltenham Glos GL50 1UA UK Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. William Pratt House 9 Dewey Court Northampton Massachusetts 01060 USA

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data Sarasvathy Saras D., 1959– Effectuation : elements of entrepreneurial expertise / Saras D. Sarasvathy. p cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Entrepreneurship—Case studies. 2. Creative ability—Case studies. 3. Success in business—Case studies. I. Title. HB615.S27 2007 658.4 21—dc22 2007010600

ISBN 978 1 84376 680 3 (cased) Printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Ltd, Bodmin, Cornwall

To my brother Gopal (Narayanan Doraswamy), without whose help I could not have set out on this journey and To the memory of Herb Simon, whose conversation kept me going

List of figures List of tables Foreword by Lester Lave Preface Acknowledgments Introduction PART I THE EMPIRICAL JOURNEY – ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPERTISE 1 2 3 What I set out to study and why What I found and how Interpreting what I found 3 19 44 ix x xi xiii xv xvii

PART II THE THEORETICAL JOURNEY – EFFECTUATION 4 5 6 Understanding effectuation: problem space and solution principles Understanding effectuation: dynamics of the effectual process Relating effectuation to performance WAYPOINT 149 171 183 205

65 96 122

PART III 7 8 9 10

Entrepreneurship as a science of the artificial Competitive advantages and entrepreneurial opportunities Philosophy and methodology of effectual economics Markets in human hope

PART IV THE WAY AHEAD 11 12 13 Teaching effectuation Research works-in-progress New research ventures vii

231 240 296



Appendix 1 Appendix 2 References Index

Research instrument Protocol from E5

309 321 323 351

2.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.2 5.1 6.1 6.2 9.1 12.1 12.2 12.3 Contrasting the textbook (causal) model of...