Spirituality and entrepreneurship: the role of magical thinking in future-oriented sensemaking

Max Ganzin*, Gazi Islam, Roy Suddaby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing from a qualitative empirical study of Canadian entrepreneurs, we seek to understand the nature of entrepreneurial thinking. More specifically, we analyse entrepreneurs' cognitive capacity to mitigate the risk inherent in an uncertain future and overcome low community expectations of entrepreneurial success. We introduce the notion of 'magical thinking', an emergent construct that refers to a cluster of beliefs that maintain the motivation and focus of entrepreneurs by transmuting agency from a rational-scientific context in which the entrepreneur imposes his or her will on the environment, to a spiritual context in which the entrepreneur perseveres by remaining true to trust in a wider cosmological belief system. We identify three key elements of magical thinking - finding one's path, obtaining the answers and being at peace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-102
Number of pages26
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • entrepreneurship
  • magical realism
  • narrative analysis
  • prospective sensemaking


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