Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Saras D. Sarasvathy

To effectuate is to engage in a specific type of entrepreneurial action. It has special importance for situations where the future is truly unknowable or human agency is of primary importance. In Effectuation, Saras Sarasvathy explores the theory and techniques of non-predictive control for creating new firms, markets and economic opportunities.

Chapter 7: Entrepreneurship as a Science of the Artificial

Saras D. Sarasvathy

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


In The Sciences of the Artificial, Simon did not explicitly discuss entrepreneurship as an instance of such a science. But it is implied in his classification of the social sciences under the rubric of the artificial. For Simon, human intention and design were central to the social sciences, and the word ‘man-made’ was synonymous with ‘artificial’: The world we live in today is much more a man-made, or artificial, world than it is a natural world. Almost every element in our environment shows evidence of man’s artifice. The temperature in which we spend most of our hours is kept artificially at 20 degrees Celsius; the humidity is added to or taken from the air we breathe; and the impurities we inhale are largely produced (and filtered) by man. (Simon, 1981: 4–5) And a little later: One may object that I exaggerate the artificiality of our world. Man must obey the law of gravity as surely as does a stone, and as a living organism man must depend for food, and in many other ways, on the world of biological phenomena. I shall plead guilty to overstatement, while protesting that the exaggeration is slight. (Ibid.: 5) 7.2.1 What is a Science of the Artificial? Simon included in the sciences of the artificial the study of those ‘objects and phenomena in which human purpose as well as natural law are embodied’ (Simon, 1981: 6). He provided several characterizations of what he...

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