What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial?
Saras D. Sarasvathy
University of Virginia - Darden School of Business
What are the characteristics, habits, and behaviors of the species entrepreneur? Is there such a thing as "entrepreneurial thinking"? Is there a learnable and teachable "core" to entrepreneurship? This case examines the problem-solving process of 30 entrepreneurs from a variety of industries whose companies range in value from $200 million to $6.5 billion. Careful analysis reveals a distinct thought process: "effectual reasoning." Using U-Haul as an example, the case delineates the way in which entrepreneurs factor in affordable loss, strategic partnerships, and leveraging contingencies. Thinking entrepreneurially, as opposed to managerially or strategically, means believing in a yet-to-be-made future that can be shaped by human action and realizing that, to the extent that such action can control the future, one need not expend energy trying to predict it. It is much more useful to understand and work with the people who are engaged in the decisions and actions that bring it into existence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
JEL Classification:Case and Teaching Paper Series
Date posted: October 21, 2008
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