Entrepreneurship as Economics with Imagination

Posted: 24 Nov 2009

See all articles by Saras D. Sarasvathy

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Date Written: 2002


Because it fails to incorporate the task ofimagination within its domain, economics has yet to develop a useful theory ofentrepreneurship.Equally unsuccessful is entrepreneurship research, whichhas allowed the quest to define entrepreneurial success to interfere withefforts to construct a coherent theory.A philosophically pragmaticapproach allows for the introduction of new meanings and uses for threeconcepts in entrepreneurial economics. First, the tidiness of the success/failure dichotomy is replaced with thenotion that the entrepreneurial process is a continual stream of successes andfailures.Such a notion implies that entrepreneurship is primarily amatter of failure management.Second, the "natural" connectionbetween the entrepreneur and the firm is dissolved, along with the concept ofthe "successful entrepreneur."Third, a contingent notion ofaspirations that places imagination at the center of economics isintroduced.Finally, the story of AES, a young entrepreneurial venture, ispresented using both the standard and the proposed entrepreneurial economicsvocabulary.The two versions illustrate that an economics withoutentrepreneurship will remain an economics incapable ofimagination.(SAA)

Keywords: Entrepreneurial process, Idea generation, Creativity, Economics

Suggested Citation

Sarasvathy, Saras D., Entrepreneurship as Economics with Imagination (2002). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1512278

Saras D. Sarasvathy (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.effectuation.org

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