Escalation of Commitment and the Framing Effect: An Empirical Investigation


Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Dr. F. David Schoorman, Krannert Graduate School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


Research and theory are reviewed which consider two decision biases: escalation of commitment and decision framing. Some authors (Bazerman, 1986; Whyte, 1986) have suggested that escalation of commitment may be explained by the decision framing used in the research paradigms. A study was conducted which simultaneously manipulated both responsibility for a prior decision and decision frame. Results show a main effect on resource allocation for responsibility and no effect for decision frame. A follow-up study found that amount of information provided systematically affected the framing bias, and that when responsibility was added to a large amount of contextual information, the framing effect became nonsignificant. These results suggest a need to further examine the boundary conditions of framing.