Escalate shamefully, de-escalate angrily or gratefully: The influence of discrete emotions on escalation of commitment.

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Abstract

Decision makers often tend to escalate their commitment when faced with a dilemma of whether to continue a losing course of action. Researchers recently began to investigate the influence of discrete emotions on this decision tendency. However, this work has mainly focused on negative emotions and rarely considered positive emotions, to say nothing of comparing the effects of both of them simultaneously. The current study addresses this need by presenting the results of three experiments that examined the effects of four emotions of both positive and negative valences in escalation situations. Experiment 1 investigated the relationships of three trait emotions (hope, shame, and anger) and escalation of commitment. Experiments 2 and 3 examined the effects of three induced emotions (anger, shame, and gratitude) on escalation of commitment in a student sample and an employee sample, respectively. The results revealed that the effects of discrete emotions in escalation situations are mainly due to their associated differences on the appraisal dimension of responsibility that is related to escalation situations rather than their valence. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-388
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume55
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes