Marketing Under Uncertainty: A Knock on the Door.

How do people approach marketing in the face of uncertainty, when the product, the market, and the traditional details involved in market research are unknowable ex ante? The authors use protocol analysis to evaluate how 27 expert entrepreneurs approach such a problem compared with 37 managers with little entrepreneurial expertise (all 64 participants are asked to think aloud as they make marketing decisions in exactly the same unpredictable situation). The hypotheses are drawn from literature in cognitive science on (1) expertise in general and (2) entrepreneurial expertise in particular. The results show significant differences in heuristics used by the two groups. While those without entrepreneurial expertise rely primarily on predictive techniques, expert entrepreneurs tend to invert these. In particular, they use an effectual or nonpredictive logic to tackle uncertain market elements and to coconstruct novel markets with committed stakeholders.

Journal or Publication:
Journal of Marketing
Saras Sarasvathy
Stuart Read
Nick Dew
Rob Wiltbank
Year Published
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