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The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 203–218 | Cite as

Escalation research: Providing new frontiers for applying behavior analysis to organizational behavior

  • Sonia M. Goltz
Article

Abstract

Decision fiascoes such as escalation of commitment, the tendency of decision makers to “throw good money after bad,” can have serious consequences for organizations and are therefore of great interest in applied research. This paper discusses the use of behavior analysis in organizational behavior research on escalation. Among the most significant aspects of behavior-analytic research on escalation is that it has indicated that both the patterns of outcomes that decision makers have experienced for past decisions and the patterns of responses that they make are critical for understanding escalation. This research has also stimulated the refinement of methods by researchers to better assess decision making and the role reinforcement plays in it. Finally, behavior-analytic escalation research has not only indicated the utility of reinforcement principles for predicting more complex human behavior but has also suggested some additional areas for future exploration of decision making using behavior analysis.

Key words

applied behavior analysis organizational behavior decision making escalation persistence reinforcement variability 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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