The economic theory classified as Austrian is not a monolithic paradigm, but is rather a loose amalgam of theories each of which holds to a core set of consistent beliefs and ideals.
Within the tradition of Austrian economic thought is an emphasis on process, the operation of those factors which drive the individual decisionmaker to an intended goal. For the economists of the Austrian school, motivations, knowledge, subjectivism, time, and the individual are of central concern; they are the core elements of a theory of human action of which the discipline of economics is but a part of the larger study of the entire social milieu. The concern for the individual and his subjective apprehensions of his environment, of the manner in which he arrives at (perhaps idiosyncratic) actions, are in fact the principal foci of this philosophy. Motivations, tastes, and expectations need be accounted for, but are subjective and qualitative inducements to behavior; they are by definition neither conducive to measurement nor representable as an order relation.