Posts Tagged risk

Effectuation – Can you know the future?

I would like to thank John King, a former Careers Adviser who now runs Engentia, an ‘enterprise and engagement’ consultancy, for contributing this post — David
Disarmed the thunder's fires - by ZedZap

What if you can't see what's ahead?

Is it possible to know the future? Most people would say not. Yet many careers theories and theories about entrepreneurial behaviour inadvertently assume that it is possible.

In 1921 Frank Knight, who once taught the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, wrote a seminal book called Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. Knight explained that there was a difference between risk (where the probability of success is known) and uncertainty (where the probability of success is unknown). More recently the economist Saras Sarasvathy, in her book Effectuation, pointed out that Knight had actually written about a third category – only no-one had noticed. This overlooked third category described a future that is not only unknown, but is unknowable, even in principle.

This observation, that there is an important difference between a future that is difficult to predict and a future that is impossible to predict, could lead to profound changes in our understanding of career choice.

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Positive compromise

I want to continue this short series of posts based around the theme of compromise by looking at a more modern developments.

In 2004 Charles Chen introduced the concept of positive compromise (Positive compromise: a new perspective for career psychology. Australian Journal of Career Development, 13(2) 2004). Compromise within career choice is generally considered a negative concept. Chen proposes that compromise will always be part of career choice in a complex and rapidly-changing world. Therefore, it makes sense to understand how to engage with compromise in constructive way.
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