This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Escalation Revisited: Investigating the Influence of Personality and Organizational Support on Escalation of Commitment




Howell, Julia

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Escalation of commitment research has been narrow in its scope of influencing factors. A goal of this study was to remedy this gap by including factors at the individual, organizational, and decision context level that affect escalation. Furthermore, to my knowledge there is no other escalation research that has included both an economic and a human resources (HR) decision scenario. A significant contribution of this study was the results showing these two types of scenarios have different, and sometimes opposing, outcomes. In the economic context, sunk costs were positively related to escalation, but the relationship was inversed in the HR context. Additionally, facets of neuroticism and openness to experience were related to escalation in the economic context, but no such relationships were present in the HR context. Openness to experience moderated the relationship between organizational support and escalation. The results in the HR context have practical implications regarding how managers select, train, promote, and terminate employees. Furthermore, the differential outcomes in the economic and HR contexts provide a first step in expanding the theoretical implications of varying contexts and their influence on escalation.