Dangers Of Escalation Of Commitment Accounting Essay

This study analyses the issue of escalation of committedness to a class of action from the position of the pharmaceutical industry. Escalation can be defined as a state of affairs where a failing venture is supplied with extra resources beyond the point of feasibleness. As such, escalation carries significant dangers for administrations by bring forthing evitable economic losingss. The study inquiries into the generic causes of escalation by analyzing capable literature. Consequently psychological, societal, organizational and project-specific factors are identified as common escalation activators. Exploration into the specifics of the said industry categorises profitableness issues, market public presentation concerns, maturating merchandises portfolio alongside development grapevine conditions as characteristics magnifying drug company companies ‘ exposure to escalation. The point is supported by real-life instance illustrations located in the appendix.

Appreciation of escalation causes allows for development of effectual bar policies. The study suggests preventative steps aimed at cut downing the happening of escalation triggers, such as disputing the person and societal causes. Approachs for cut downing other factors ‘ impact on decision-making are outlined in the signifier of scheme change every bit good as procedure direction policies. The study finalises with suggestions on intensifying state of affairss direction.

Statement of Mention

The purpose of this 2000-word study is to inquiry the causes and dangers of escalation of committedness to a class of action from the position of pharmaceutical companies.

This study is to measure the dangers of escalation of committedness to a chosen class of action through the position of pharmaceutical companies. In order to accomplish the purpose set, the paper first analyses the definition and menaces originating from the phenomenon of escalation.

Following, following the model proposed by Ross & A ; Staw ( 1993 ) generic causes of escalation are summarised. Subsequently, the study looks at industry- and drug development-specific escalation triggers in an effort to place why the pharmaceutical companies are peculiarly vulnerable to the dangers of escalation of committedness.

Then, escalation bar commissariats organised around undertaking antecedently identified triggers are outlined. The study concludes with suggestions refering the issue of intensifying state of affairs direction.

Escalation of committedness: definition and dangers

Escalation can be defined as a state of affairs where an single over-commits resources to a failing venture after having negative feedback on its public presentation. Having an option to stop, the decision-maker forgoes rational behavior and devotes more money, clip or attempt in a false belief that greater engagement will convey the undertaking to successful completion ( Staw, 1981 ) .

Some scrutiny suggests that escalation as such should non be automatically assigned negative intension. Low degree of employee committedness is besides damaging to organizational public presentation ; background factors might warrant over-commitment ( Heath, 1995 ) . Another position assumes escalation to be a natural characteristic of the concern decision-making that should be treated as an ineluctable disbursal ( Bowen, 1987 ) . The dominant impression supported by extended research suggests that escalation of committedness should be acted against ( Brockner, 1992 ) because of transporting dangers of:

Ultimately taking to generation of evitable losingss ;

Introducing irrational decision-making ;

Sabotaging the basic premiss of concern activity: to maximize additions with minimum costs ;

Generating significant chance costs

Devouring irrecoverable resources, such as clip.

Appreciation of escalation triggers allows for development of efficient bar methods aimed at cut downing the happening of such factors, later protecting the company from the aforesaid hurts.

Generic causes of escalation


Initial research suggested that escalation arises chiefly from the natural slope of the human being to self-justify behavior. Supplying the class of action with extra resources serves as unconscious defense mechanism technique: the single reassures him/herself that the original determination made was rational ( Staw, 1976 ) . Self-justification demand is heightened if the decision-maker holds duty for the resource allotment ( Staw, 1981 ) , which is typical for investing determination scene.

Prospect theory applied to escalation suggests that excuse is non critical requirement for its happening. Escalation is induced by the decision-maker utilizing a ‘frame ‘ to do determinations under conditions of uncertainness of consequences. The decision-maker positions subsequent determinations in mention to results of initial opinions in order to bring forth a coherent frame. The negative feedback on the initial resource allotment consequences in the subsequent distribution being viewed as a pick between definite and possible loss, or a negative frame. Subsequently persons are prone to escalation by going risk-seeking: weakness to accept a definite loss even at the cost of incurring greater in the hereafter ( Whyte, 1986 ) .

How the decision-maker perceives incurred costs, constitutes another escalation trigger ( Garland & A ; Newport, 1991 ) . Following chances theory, the ‘sunk costs consequence ‘ suggests that costs incurred viewed in relation to the entire outgo bring on a negative frame, taking to intensifying behavior. Linked with that, the disfavor of waste provides another motive to provide the class of action further, instead than confront a definite loss ( Arkes & A ; Blumer, 1985 ) . Interestingly, exhilaration about the undertaking outcomes ( Schmidt & A ; Calantone, 2002 ) , and ‘sunk-time effect’A­ ( Navarro & A ; Fantino, 2009 ) assistance escalation happening.


Importantly, the aforesaid demand to warrant the rightness of behavior is non limited to the person and applies to the wider societal context ( Staw, 1976 ) . Keeping an image of a consistent decision-maker among equals proves every bit, or more, of import to run intoing self-justification demands.

The desire to obtain societal blessing is exacerbated under insecurity of the societal position in the group, or in a presence of an inauspicious crowd ( Staw, 1976 ) . In such cases the person is likely to pattern his/her behavior to reproduce the theoretical account endorsed by the audience ( Brockner, 1992 ) . As the group replicates leader stereotypes that emphasize the demand for decision-makers to be consistent in actions in order to be perceived as competent ( Staw & A ; Ross, 1980 ) , the single aspiring to accomplish consistence with the stereotyped image will over-commit non to falsify others ‘ belief in their leading potency, and to reaffirm place in the group construction.

Intra- or inter- group competition can bespeak escalation. The focal point is shifted off from nonsubjective appraisal of the possible results of a chosen determination onto the motive to win. The demand to make whatever it takes to acquire a measure in front of the rivals introduces scope for unreason and escalation as such irrational behavior is common to both of the parties involved ( Bazerman, 2006 ) .


Undertakings having strong organizational support are prone to escalation ( Pfeffer, 1981 in Ross & A ; Staw, 1993 ) , as the decision-makers place them with the being of administration itself. Furthermore, the centrality of the undertaking to organizational values and its intrenchment in the organizational construction history for the undertakings being continued despite reserves ( Goodman et al. , 1980 in Ross & A ; Staw, 1993 ) . Unwinding the back uping substructure might endanger the very footing of working organizational construction ; bring on alteration that is frequently associated with hazards and dangers. The costs of credence of position quo are perceived as child to the possible dangers of modified environment.

Keeping repute and consistence between values and actions prove to represent forces bring oning over-commitment from organizational position ( Ross & A ; Staw, 1993 ) . Companies holding publically announced success might be more hesitating to acknowledge failure and discontinue with the class of action.


High development costs and hazardous market public presentation of the finished merchandise, the credence of failures and losingss as a characteristic of the R & A ; D procedure, and reluctance of decision-makers to emotionally detach from the drawn-out undertakings account for greater escalation exposure of R & A ; D undertakings ( Schmidt & A ; Calantone, 2002 ) .

Low possible reusability ( Staw & A ; Ross, 1993 ) of the generated end product consequences in reluctance to stop the venture in order to avoid waste. Negative framing induces the perceptual experience of issue costs, such as compensation bundles as definite waste, taking to escalation.

The promotion of the undertaking on a timeline constitutes another menace due to sunk-cost consequence ( Navarro & A ; Fantino, 2009 ) . Projects making advanced phases of development would be discontinued reluctantly because of accretion of used resources, including clip, and the perceptual experience of at hand handiness of the awaited additions.

Industry-specific Escalation Gun triggers

Profitableness issues

Recent informations suggests that pharmaceutical companies are to confront diminution in net income figures in forthcoming old ages ( Datamonitor, 2010 ) . This can be attributed to steadily increasing drug development costs: the costs bring forthing the concluding merchandise exceed $ 1 billion, with every bit few as 20 % of successful merchandise entries accomplishing the break-even point ( Innovation.org, 2010 ) . Estimates suggest that pharmaceutical companies should establish two to four drugs yearly to keep steady net income borders ( Gassmann & A ; Reepmeyer, 2005 ) . However, due to high abrasion rates the overall success of administrations ‘ scheme is frequently reliant on the success of a individual undertaking ( Kola & A ; Landis, 2004 ) . These factors pressurise the companies to go on with undertakings and neglect originating reserves to keep profitableness.

Maturing merchandise portfolio

The decrease in new constituent blessings can be partly attributed to beef uping drug enrollment demands. Other account lies in the controversial ‘innovation shortage ‘ experienced by the industry ( Schmid & A ; Smith, 2004 ) . Lower invention figures account for pharmaceutical companies ‘ being faced with maturating merchandise portfolio. Consequently, the companies engage in a assortment of advanced undertakings overly-optimistically measuring their gross potency, neglecting to stop when reserves arise. Finally, the companies face greater losingss as the undertakings fail to bring forth awaited grosss, but incurring evitable losingss ( Appendix: Dimebon instance ) .

Concerns for market public presentation

The force per unit area to prevail is farther reinforced by the demand to be consistent with company ‘s vision ( Ross & A ; Staw, 1993 ) . Backing the undertakings demonstrates consistency with the mission statement ; reaffirms the repute every bit good as reassures the market and investors on following the profitable trail. However, waiving ethical and safety facets of drug bringing over concerns for market public presentation and cost-cutting proves damaging ( Appendix: GSK Puerto Rico Plant ) .

Development grapevine conditions

The specificity of the drug development grapevine further adds to the exposure to the dangers of escalation of committedness. The drug development clip is estimated to excel 10 old ages, with the costs magnifying as the undertaking progresses ( Accenture, 2007 ) . This suggests heightened emotional fond regard and exhilaration towards consequences, every bit good as being of back uping substructure as powerful incentives of escalation. Attrition figures reveal that escalation is common in the industry as the most undertakings are withdrawn after making the most cost intensive phase of advanced clinical tests that precedes the enrollment procedure ; or are recalled after making the patient due to safety concerns that have been ignored earlier on ( Kola & A ; Landis, 2004 ) ( Appendix: Avandia instance ) .

Escalation: how to forestall it?

Undertaking single and societal causes

Possibly present assessment processs stressing one ‘s ability to construct on past actions, instead than patterned advance of the undertaking. This will cut down directors ‘ fright of negative effects if the undertaking fails. Confidential intervention of sensitive affairs, such as personal failures, will cut down the repute keeping motive for escalation ( Simonson & A ; Staw, 1992 ) .

See developing positive leader stereotypes supported by convergent organizational values stressing the reason of decision-making. Furthermore, presenting panel decision-making processs contribute to forestalling escalation by cut downing single duty for the determination taken ( Simonson & A ; Staw, 1992 ; Schmidt & A ; Calantone, 2002 ) . Inviting members of relevant sections allows for measuring the undertaking ‘s success potency from a assortment of angles restricting range for escalation to originate.

Ponder developing impersonal determination frames by revolving directors in charge of the undertaking so that different persons held duty for initial and subsequent resources allotments ( Simonson & A ; Staw, 1992 ) . Additionally, Foster for emotional withdrawal from sunk costs by presenting preparation in mental budgeting ( Heath, 1995 ) .

Undertaking rating and direction

Clear and accomplishable marks should be set out at the undertaking induction alongside issue points at assorted phases of patterned advance ( Schmid & A ; Smith, 2004 ) . Measuring undertaking ‘s public presentation against set purposes ; measuring the efficiency with which resources yield consequences at the selected points allows for early appraisal whether the undertaking is following the awaited tract, therefore leting to avoid greater losingss. See following ‘attrite early ‘ scheme ( Schmid & A ; Smith, 2004 ) as company ‘s slogan.

See engagement in multi-stakeholder analysis undertakings measuring the possible value of advanced drug undertakings at early phases of development such as the audiences conducted within the European Healthcare Innovation Leadership Network ( AstraZeneca, 2010 ) .

Ponder affecting external parties in the undertaking ( Schmidt & A ; Calantone, 2002 ) . Possibly engage hearers to measure the success undertaking ‘s success potency at its beginning or to invent effectual eventuality planning. This will guarantee objectiveness and independency of organizational political relations. See outsourcing the undertaking to subcontractors to avoid its institutionalisation in the organizational construction.

Alternating middle-to-long-term scheme

See regenerating bing merchandise portfolio and battle in ‘me-too ‘ drug developments. This ensures steady gross coevals from inelastic demand sections ( Ganuza et al. , 2009 ) and carries less hazard comparing to reliance on awaited additions from advanced compounds. Appraisals suggest that engagement in drug-related sectors or concentrating on promotion in accredited compounds constitute a potentially profitable alternate ( Schmid & A ; Smith, 2004 ) . Consider GSK ‘s engagement in healthcare trade names as an illustration.

Pull offing Escalation

Suppose the intensifying state of affairs arises, see replacing the undertaking director or set uping panel appraisal in order to take the negative thought frame, free off the possible excuse demands and buttocks realistically undertaking ‘s success potency ( Simonson & A ; Staw, 1992 ) . Consequently, ponder prosecuting external advisers to develop plausible solutions and present other point of position independent of the political and organizational influence. Otherwise, measure possible salvage value of the undertaking towards set uping uses other than the initial one anticipated ( Appendix: Viagra instance ) .

Furthermore, see whether external fiscal support for advanced research is available ; and if is executable to utilize towards achievement of the undertaking ‘s purposes. Otherwise, ponder engaging in partnership with a company set abouting research in similar compound in order to unite knowhow and cut down costs.


Avandia instance

Recent backdown of GSK ‘s extremely advanced and best-selling diabetes drug, Avandia, in EU was caused by the linkages with deceases by bosom failures among the patients on the medicine ( FT.com, 2010b ) . Allegedly, the company was cognizant of the badness of inauspicious effects, nevertheless launched the drug to the market ( Avandia Recall News, 2010 ) . Appraisals suggest that GSK could confront between $ 1.1bn and $ 6bn in compensation costs ( FT.com, 2010a ) that could hold been avoided had the company ceased the undertaking when safety concerns were brought to visible radiation. Additionally, bad promotion incurred after the allegations surfaced resulted in autumn of GSK portion monetary values, and the company confronting negative net income histories ( FT.com, 2010c ) .

Dimebon instance

Pfizer has late withdrawn from advanced clinical tests ( undertaken in partnership with Medivation ) of extremely anticipated Alzheimer ‘s disease remedy, Dimebon, after the drug exhibited no promising curative consequences ( MedScape Medical News, 2010 ) . The reserves about the healing belongingss of the compound have been raised at early phases of the procedure. It is assumed that the logic behind Dimebon ‘s marvelous effects was ne’er decently investigated. Furthermore, similar compounds failed in old tests ( ABC News online, 2010 ) . Escalating behavior in such instance could be linked to Pfizer losing patent rights the presently marketed Alzheimer ‘s intervention, Aricept and was in demand of a profitable replacing. As a consequence of failure to look into and measure quickly, Pfizer has incurred $ 725 million in R & A ; D costs ( the Economist.com, 2010 ) .

GSK Puerto Rico Plant instance

GSK is reported to pay $ 750m in punishment payment to US authorities and other claimants following allegations on fabrication malpractice and failure to adhere to safety criterions in production works in Puerto Rico. The allegations sing mal-adjusted doses of active ingredients and ineffectualness of drugs submitted to authorities programmes were revealed by a former employee and resulted in the company being charged with a condemnable offense ( Wall Street Journal Law Blog, 2010 ) .

Viagra instance

Initially Viagra was developed as a affable drug aimed at diminishing blood force per unit area and forestalling cardiac apprehensions. Clinical tests out of the blue revealed potentially exploitable and marketable belongingss of the drug: high effectivity in contending erectile disfunction in work forces.

In the six months following its launch as a radical intervention, in 1998 Viagra worldwide gross revenues have exceeded ?300 million ( BBCnews.com, 1999 ) .