Title page for ETD etd-04072004-104249

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Russ, Molly JoAnn
Author's Email Address mruss1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04072004-104249
Title Escalation Bias in Group Decision-Making
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kevin Mossholder Committee Co-Chair
Sean Lane Committee Co-Chair
Dorothea Lerman Committee Member
Jim Diefendorff Committee Member
  • group decision making
  • escalation of commitment
  • performance appraisal
  • diffusion of responsibility
  • polarization
  • team decision making
  • escalation bias
Date of Defense 2003-12-16
Availability unrestricted
The present study extended the literature on escalation bias to group decision-making in the context of performance appraisal. Escalation theory states that persons responsible for a hiring decision will provide higher evaluation ratings of that employee than those persons not responsible for the decision. This study compared the performance evaluation decisions of supervisors, individual team members, and teams in order to ascertain differences in escalation behaviors based on rater perspective and whether the rater was responsible for hiring the employee or not. Support for the hypotheses varied depending on the employment decision being made and the perspective of the decision-maker. There was no support found for an escalation of commitment on any of the tested variables. However, it was found that supervisors provided more favorable ratings than teams on the performance and promotability variables. Teams provided more favorable ratings than supervisors on the commission decrease variable and more favorable ratings than team members on the layoff and commission decrease variables. Team members provided higher ratings than teams on the performance and promotability variables. Additionally, there was a perspective by responsibility interaction found between teams and team members on the performance and vacation days variables, and between supervisors and teams on the vacation days variable. No other hypotheses were significant. Possible effects of polarization in teams and diffusion of responsibility by team members are discussed.
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