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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Megaprojects frequently go awry. Not only do a good many take a lot longer and cost a lot more than expected; the benefits may fall far short of what was promised. A question that has puzzled scholars is why organizations persist when it becomes abundantly clear that important expectations will not be met. This chapter explores a phenomenon known as “escalation of commitment.” Escalation theorists believe that once megaprojects get underway, decision makers are likely to experience mounting pressures to persist—regardless. Four main questions are addressed. How does escalation start? What drives decision makers to reinvest in economically poor megaprojects? What can decision makers do to curb project “run-aways”? How can research best help decision makers to make better—that is, more economically wise–decisions?

Keywords: escalation, commitment, project management, risk, uncertainty

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