Talk:Escalation of commitment

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Missing Opposition[edit]

I arrived at this topic in looking up the phrase "in for a penny, in for a pound." This is characterized only as an expression of the sunk-cost fallacy, but I think another interpretation of that phrase is overlooked - that if an initial (overcautious) investment was not sufficient to achieve a desired goal, those pursuing the goal might stop being overcautious and commit all necessary resources to attain the goal. There is no proof of the external assumption that the goal is unworthy or unattainable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Vietnam Complex?[edit]

Why not call it the "Vietnam Complex"?

Pot Committed[edit]

This is a bad example. Being pot committed is the result of applying correct odds to a situation based on probability of success. For example if there are 100 chips in the pot and the bet for 50 chips with no more chips to enter the pot, you must call 50 chips for a chance at 200. One only needs to win better than 25% of the time for the bet to be net positive, so a "bad call" ie: 2 undercards which is winning around 40% of the time would be a long term winning play, not an example of escalation of commitment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:11, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

NPOV violation[edit]

I believe that the third example violates the WP:NPOV and should be removed. Johnnyreb (talk) 09:08, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree, it struck me as a form of "weasel words" and is unnecessarily political in this article's context. I will remove it. Jmelenson (talk) 21:43, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Milgram experiment[edit]

What does this experiment have to do with escalation of commitment? It a classic on Obedience to Authority, but in this case, further electric discharges are triggered by the experimenter orders and not on the feedback by previous orders. Scarbrow (talk) 01:53, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

I also think that Milgram has nothing to do with escalation of commitment. (talk) 22:56, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

in human relations?[edit]

anything about this effect in human relations, e.g. love or friendship? i know it happens (made the mistake myself), but does any literature exist on the subject? (talk) 00:15, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


Potential sources to add to references and update page:

-Bazerman, Max H., Guiliano, Toni, & Appelman, Alan. (1984). Escalation of commitment in individual and group decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 33(2), 141-152.

-Brockner, Joel. (1992). The Escalation of Commitment to a Failing Course of Action: Toward Theoretical Progress. Acad Manage Rev, 17(1), 39-61.

-Dietz-Uhler, Beth. (1998). The escalation of commitment in political decision-making groups: a social identity approach. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26(4), 611-629.

-Drummond, Helga. (2014). Escalation of Commitment: When to Stay the Course? Acad Manade Perspect, 28(4), 430-446.

-Kiel, Mark, Tan, Bernard C. Y., Wei, Kwok-Kee, Saarinen, Timo, Tuunainen, Virpi, & Wassenaar, Arjen. (2000). A Cross-Cultural Study on Escalation of Commitment Behavior in Software Projects. MIS Quarterly, 24(4), 299-325.

-Dmitri G. Markovitch Dongling Huang Lois Peters B.V. Phani Deepu Philip William Tracy , (2014),"Escalation of commitment in entrepreneurship-minded groups", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 20 Iss 4 pp. 302 - 323

-Moon, Henry. (2001). The two faces of conscientiousness: Duty and achievement striving in escalation of commitment dilemmas. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 86(3), 533-540.

-Sleesman, D. J., Conlon, D. E., McNamara, G., & Miles, J. E. (2012). Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-analytic review of the determinants of escalation of commitment. Academy of management Journal, 55(3), 541-562.

-Ming-Hong Tsai & Maia J. Young (2010) Anger, fear, and escalation of commitment, Cognition and Emotion, 24:6, 962-973, DOI: 10.1080/02699930903050631

-Whyte, Glen. (1986). Escalating Commitment to a Course of Action: A Reinterpretation. Acad Manage Rev, 11(2), 311-321.

-Wieber, Frank, Thurmer, J. Lukas, & Gollwitzer, Peter M. (2015). Attenuating the Escalation of Commitment to a Faltering Project in Decision-Making Groups. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(5), 587-595.

Aswilson25 (talk) 02:59, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Proposed Changes[edit]

Introduction -Redo the first sentence that describes this phenomenon. Include more of an introduction to this definition. -Needs to be explained overall rather than in a financial and technical manner.

Psychological and Sociological - new section of contents (or expand Four Main Determinants so each has its own section) -Detail the phenomenon as it can occur in this setting

Four Main Determinants -Points need to explained and proven from resource -Points explained in more detail

Escalation in Groups vs Individuals -Describe how the term applies to group decisions and actions rather than just for a single person

Examples -Needs to be more descriptive examples. Make it tell a story rather than facts. -Include non-financial examples

Aswilson25 (talk) 03:32, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Not part of computer science project[edit]

The template says this article is part of the computer science project, but the topic actually has nothing to do with computer science. It is a psychology topic. I added the Wikiproject psychology template, but didn't remove the computer science one. Robertekraut (talk) 02:11, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

I removed project CS, maybe {{WikiProject Economics}} and {{GameTheoryProject}} could be added. --Ihaveacatonmydesk (talk) 23:44, 5 May 2016 (UTC)


I think the Examples section is likely very politicized or at least lacking objectivity. So i think it should be more regulated or removed completely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Agreed. It should really only contain cases that are pretty much prima facie examples of the fallacy in action. Politically tendentious ones (fossil fuels/climate change) and personal decisions (not getting a divorce/firing an employee) are rather more complex issues than easily-rebutted logical fallacies — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:39, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

It doesn't help that they are presented as a list and stripped of any context. Most of the sources are behind a paywall, unfortunately. --Ihaveacatonmydesk (talk) 22:49, 3 May 2016 (UTC)


Smuckola asked for an assessment of the page. I gave it a quick skim while cleaning up the ref section, and I noticed that the page relies maybe too heavily on direct quotes from its sources, and parts like "though this theory seems realistic, researchers “Davis and Bobko (1986) found [...]"" would make sense inside the journal, with the Davis and Bobko reference at the end, but not here. The Pan Am section seems to have some language issues. Aside from that it needs an evaluation from an expert on the topic. --Ihaveacatonmydesk (talk) 22:44, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Also, the phrase "Escalation of commitment was first described by Barry M. Staw in his 1976 paper, "Knee deep in the big muddy: A study of escalating commitment to a chosen course of action".[3]" isn't supported by the source, which is just the mentioned paper. It would need a 3rd party source confirming that. --Ihaveacatonmydesk (talk) 22:56, 3 May 2016 (UTC)