Between a rock and a hard place: a case study of escalation

Helga Drummond (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Julia A. Kingstone Hodgson (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 1 April 1996


Organizations often seem to persist with decisions long after any sensible person might have given up. It is thought that such persistence results from foolhardy behaviour by decision makers motivated mainly by emotional factors such as pride and fear of failure. Analyses a case of a failing decision. Concerns a local government department with a reputation for corruption and incompetence. Concludes that although escalation may reflect emotional pressures, persistence is not necessarily irrational. From a practical standpoint, argues that we need to reconsider what we expect from decision makers.



Drummond, H. and Kingstone Hodgson, J. (1996), "Between a rock and a hard place: a case study of escalation", Management Decision, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 29-34.

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Copyright © 1996, Company

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