"Ought" to "Can": Questions for an Entrepreneurial Future

11 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010

See all articles by S. Venkataraman

S. Venkataraman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This technical note explores the broadening role of entrepreneurship as both an economic and societal force. Students learn that as a distinct problem-solving method, entrepreneurship is teachable and applicable to a wide variety of issues central to human well-being and social improvement. It is akin to the scientific method in its capability to generate both the means to achieve yesterday's ends and the reasons to reject them in favor of new ends undreamed of previously. In this sense, it pervades and intervenes in every sphere of human hope—from economics and social welfare to the very definition of who we are and what we want for ourselves and the societies we live in.

Excerpt

UVA-ENT-0132

August 28, 2009

“Ought” to “Can”:

Questions for an Entrepreneurial Future

What should we be doing to foster entrepreneurship? As academics, lawmakers, investors and aid workers—what should we be doing to encourage entrepreneurs and drive economic development?

It is natural for us to frame our questions in terms of lofty “oughts” and then scrounge around the practical reality of “cans” for possible answers. Resulting compromises, even when useful, leave a sour aftertaste. The lessons from research into what entrepreneurs actually do suggest a promising reversal: that we begin with what we can and then make viable moves toward continually reframing, reshaping, and redoing what we ought in a variety of value-creating ways.

. . .

Keywords: effectuation social change unconventional paradigm shift

Suggested Citation

Venkataraman, S. and Sarasvathy, Saras D., "Ought" to "Can": Questions for an Entrepreneurial Future. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0132, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1583321

S. Venkataraman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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

Saras D. Sarasvathy

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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