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Examples of Escalation Situations

This pathological decision-making has also been referred to as: the escalation of commitment; the psychology of entrapment; the sunk cost effect; and the too-much-invested-to-quit syndrome.

The issue of escalation had earlier been explained as being the result of psychological factors that allowed decision-makers to think and act irrationally; that is, behavior unexplained either by objective circumstances or by customary decision-making standards. Some researchers maintain that rationality is not an issue because decision-makers are known, once apprised of economic realities, to attend to their responsibilities. Alternatively, other researchers believe there are a multiplicity of psychological and social factors involved, including public embarrassment and the admission of failure. Rationality, therefore, or its privation need not either draw excessive attention or distract from the central phenomenon of the tendency of individuals and organizations to persist in failing courses of action. Although there are many determinants which may explain this tendency, there are four princi


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