The Fallacy of 'Only the Strong Survive': The Effects of Extrinsic Motivation on the Persistence Decisions of Underperforming Firms
28 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2007
Date Written: March 27, 2004
According to economic theory, under-performing firms should be selected out of the market. However, research shows that these firms persist, often for long periods of time. In this article we explore the non-firm-performance factors that contribute to the decision to persist with an under-performing firm. Using the escalation of commitment literature we identify seven variables that are associated with the persistence decision: Personal sunk costs, personal opportunities, previous organizational success, perceived collective efficacy, environmental complexity, dynamism and munificence. We reconcile the economic and psychological views by finding that the extent to which some of these non-firm-performance factors influence the persistence decision is, in part, dependent upon the owner-managers' level of extrinsic motivation.
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