UVA Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy’s Work on Entrepreneurship Inspires Global Conference
By Carlos Santos
University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Saras Sarasvathy, whose research has inspired a worldwide upsurge in entrepreneurial studies, spoke at an international conference to advance the entrepreneurial method.
Sarasvathy’s dissertation in the late 1990s launched a new way of looking at the entrepreneurial method, which she coined effectuation. She defines effectuation as a “logic of thinking with which expert entrepreneurs use to build successful ventures.” The third Effectuation Research and Teaching Conference was held 8-9 December in Enschede in the Netherlands.
Over the last 15 years, working with dozens of collaborators, Sarasvathy’s worldwide team has examined the method used by more than 30 entrepreneurial CEOs to make business decisions and demonstrated that the entrepreneurial method was used consistently by successful leaders.
“My research showed that this logic is teachable. And it’s powerful,” said Sarasvathy.
The conference is hosted by the Netherlands Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship at the University of Twente. Its theme is “Practicing Effectuation: Individual, Organizational and Societal Impact.”
The conference will include interactive seminars on teaching and research, small research clinics at which papers will be discussed and workshops. Topics will include how to use effectuation more effectively and how to determine the best new teaching practices and materials. Participants will also learn how effectuation can be used to solve some of the world’s critical problems.
“We’re just beginning to understand that entrepreneurship itself is a method for us to build not just companies, but a better world,” said Sarasvathy, who is co-hosting the conference. “It’s a method for us to unleash the human potential to create new ends and the means to attain them.”
With support from Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Sarasvathy co-founded the Society for Effectual Action, housed at Darden, the mission of which is to fundamentally change the way entrepreneurship is taught and learned.
“It’s not as mystical, magical or nonsensical as people make it out to be,” said Sarasvathy. “Instead, conferences such as the one at Twente seek to spell out and deepen our understanding of the entrepreneurial method.”
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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