From Rational to Wise Action: Recasting Our Theories of Entrepreneurship



Date of this version


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entrepreneurial decision-making, rational choice, wisdom


In this paper, I argue that if we challenge some tacit assumptions of narrow rationality that endure in much of entrepreneurial studies, we can elevate entrepreneurial ethics beyond mere external constraints on rational action, and move toward fuller integration of ethics as an intrinsic part of the process of value creation itself. To this end, I propose the concept of practical wisdom as a framework for exploring entrepreneurial decision-making and action that can broaden the scope of our research to recognize entrepreneurship as an inherently normative enterprise. Specifically I suggest that a framework built upon a concept of practical wisdom enables us to adopt a richer and more complex view of entrepreneurial decision-making that is well suited to the dynamic and uncertain context of entrepreneurship. Further, this framework enriches our view of entrepreneurial ethics to include consideration of the personal character, values and purpose of the entrepreneur. By examining entrepreneurship through a lens of practical wisdom, we can open up new avenues of fruitful inquiry for scholars of entrepreneurship.

Published in

Journal of Business Ethics

Citation/Other Information

Dunham, L. 2010. “From Rational to Wise Action: Recasting our Theories of Entrepreneurship,” Journal of Business Ethics, 92 (4): 513-530.