Escalation and De-Escalation of Commitment to Information Technology Projects: A Commitment Transformation Analysis of an E-Government Project

Information Systems Journal 16(1), 2006, pp. 3-21

Posted: 21 Apr 2013

See all articles by Gary Pan

Gary Pan

Singapore Management University - School of Accountancy

Shan Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Mike Newman

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Donal Flynn

Independent

Date Written: February 21, 2006

Abstract

This paper presents a commitment transformation framework for analysing the change in actors’ commitment during the transition from escalation to deescalation in information technology projects. De-escalation is potentially a more important issue than escalation because de-escalation provides remedies for the ills of escalation. Therefore, it is important to understand how stakeholders may bias facts in the direction of previously accepted beliefs and thus prevent an organization from de-escalating. Here, we adopt Lewin’s change theory to examine the commitment transformation during the transition from escalation to de-escalation of an e-government project in a local council in the United Kingdom. By conceiving actors’ commitment transformation as an ‘unfreezing–changing–refreezing’ process, researchers may develop a deeper understanding of how actors may give up previous failing course of action and accept an alternative course of action. Practitioners can also utilize the framework in post-mortem analyses of projects which have faced escalation to devise useful de-escalation strategies for future project development.

Keywords: escalation of commitment, de-escalation of commitment, e-government

JEL Classification: M40

Suggested Citation

Pan, Gary and Pan, Shan and Newman, Mike and Flynn, Donal, Escalation and De-Escalation of Commitment to Information Technology Projects: A Commitment Transformation Analysis of an E-Government Project (February 21, 2006). Information Systems Journal 16(1), 2006, pp. 3-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254472

Gary Pan (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Accountancy ( email )

60 Stamford Road
Singapore 178900
Singapore

Shan Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Mike Newman

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Donal Flynn

Independent ( email )

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