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Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy Unveils The Society For Effectual Action And

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Jan. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Darden School of Business and its Batten Institute announce the launch of a new resource to advance the scholarship and teaching of entrepreneurship.


Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy and colleagues -- both scholars and entrepreneurs -- from around the globe have created the Society for Effectual Action and its new robust online community,, focused on the specific study of entrepreneurship known as effectuation.

Effectuation fundamentally rethinks how entrepreneurship is researched and taught throughout the world. Sarasvathy and Darden alumni Chip Ransler and Ian Ayers (both MBA '09) have created the Society for Effectual Action (SEA) as a rich resource for researchers and educators that builds on effectuation's logic, which is used by expert entrepreneurs to solve problems in highly uncertain market environments.

Sarasvathy pioneered effectuation research beginning in the late 1990s. Her 2001 article "What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial?" - published by Darden Business Publishing - is one of the seminal articles that spawned this relatively new branch of entrepreneurship research, which has since gathered a cohort of scholars from around the world.

Sarasvathy describes effectuation by using the example of a woman who wants to open an Indian restaurant. If she were to proceed causally, following the approach she learned in business school, she'd study the restaurant market in the city where she's planning to do business, select a location, choose a customer segment, design a restaurant, raise funds, assemble a team, develop a marketing plan and then open the doors to diners. If she instead took an effectual approach, the outcome would depend on her means: who she is, what she knows and who she knows. If she lets her first restaurant customers contribute to the development of her idea -- and discovers that they are more interested in her knowledge of Indian culture and life experiences than they are in her cooking -- she might decide to go into business in education, travel or self-help, for instance. In the process of trying to build a new venture, she might discover an entirely new market.

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