In his Imagined Futures, Jens Beckert suggests four ways in which fictional expectations make an impact on the social world:
- They coordinate actors by providing a common focus to their action
- They are able to shape the future by conditioning what action happens
- The freedom involved in fiction means they are not constrained by reality and are thus capable of stimulating innovation
- They motivate real decisions which have consequences on the distribution of resources and the projects which actors have to pursue and contest them, including the attempts to influence expectations because of the consequences they have.