Unsticking the rationality stalemate: Motivated reasoning, reality, and irrationality
Embargo Lift Date: 2025-02-13
Journal of Business Venturing Insights
e00336- 1 - e00336- 8
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Rationality is an elusive and increasingly debated concept in entrepreneurship research. We offer a novel conceptualization of rationality based on reasoning motivations. We posit that logical, probabilistic, and heuristic reasoning logics are motivationally rational because the decision-maker attempts to accurately perceive the external world and problem-solve (even if rapidly and approximately). By contrast, when the reasoning ignores an assessment of reality and accuracy in problem-solving and instead is deluded by psychological (e.g., hedonic) urges that prompt self-serving inferences, we categorize such decisions as motivationally irrational. We develop a theoretical account for how motivational irrationality is adaptive under extreme uncertainty as it enables entrepreneurs to dare action when even heuristic reasoning is inconclusive or entirely ineffective.
Entrepreneurial action theory