201501 lee

Escalation of commitment to a failing course of action is a problem in behavioral decision making that occurs across a wide range of social contexts. In this research, we show that examining escalation of commitment from a goal setting theory perspective provides fresh insights into how goal difficulty influences escalation of commitment. Specifically, through a series of two experiments, we found a curvilinear relationship between goal difficulty and post-feedback goal commitment, which was mediated by valence and expectancy associated with goal attainment. In turn, it is commitment to goals that leads individuals to continue a previous course of action despite negative feedback.