Unsticking the rationality stalemate: Motivated reasoning, reality, and irrationality

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2025-02-13
Date
2022-08-21
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Source Title
Journal of Business Venturing Insights
Print ISSN
Electronic ISSN
2352-6734
Publisher
Elsevier Inc.
Volume
18
Issue
Pages
e00336- 1 - e00336- 8
Language
English
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Abstract

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.

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