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Pushing through the tension while stuck in the mud: Paradox mindset and escalation of commitment

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  • Sleesman, Dustin J.

Abstract

After investing resources in a course of action that is currently failing, individuals face the difficult and complex decision of how to respond to it. Extant research indicates that this situation entails a paradoxical tension: individuals feel compelled to continue the failing course, while also feeling pulled to respond to its negative feedback. I argue that individuals with a paradox mindset (i.e., the extent to which they accept and are energized by tensions) will respond to the situation by developing a sense of optimism about being able to successfully work through it. Four experiments demonstrate that a paradox mindset is associated with optimism and persistence with a failing course. However, these relationships are largely attenuated in situations where an alternative course of action is salient. This research offers a fresh perspective on the escalation of commitment phenomenon, and it helps to establish the boundary conditions for the effects of paradox mindset.

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  • Sleesman, Dustin J., 2019. "Pushing through the tension while stuck in the mud: Paradox mindset and escalation of commitment," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 83-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:155:y:2019:i:c:p:83-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2019.03.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Waldman, David A. & Putnam, Linda L. & Miron-Spektor, Ella & Siegel, Donald, 2019. "The role of paradox theory in decision making and management research," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 1-6.

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