Selected Essays of Dean A. Shepherd
Chapter 2: The Formation of Opportunity Beliefs: Overcoming Ignorance and Reducing Doubt
Whether discussed as expectations, knowledge, means, real options, scenarios, or contingencies, beliefs play a central role in models of human action that presume logical actors facing uncertain futures. Yet scholars ranging from such diverse fields as institutional economics (e.g., North, 2005), strategic management (e.g., Foss, 2007), and visual cognition (e.g., Rensink, 2002), are in general agreement that we have little scientific understanding of where beliefs come from and how they are formed. As Hastie (2001) observed, however, the decisions that beget human action are the product of beliefs. Therefore, scholarly understanding of decision making and human action is logically dependent upon a better understanding of the source, formation, and effect of beliefs on various human processes that are considered central to social science in general and organizational and managerial studes in particular.
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