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Project escalation and IT management


Mohammad Wasif Ali

Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics, GB
About Mohammad Wasif
Candidate for M.Sc. in Analysis Design and Management of Information Systems
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Escalation is considered a costly problem that occurs frequently in IT projects. Project escalation has been a major issue in academic research for several decades. According to the relevant literature, the factors that contribute to escalation can be mainly categorised into tangible and intangible; more specifically, project and organizational factors are seen as tangible risks that can hinder project success. A brief overview of a risk categorization framework is presented here for its validity in identifying project escalation factors. In contrast, the IS literature deals primarily with intangible factors, as it provides a solid theoretical base for understanding escalation as a social phenomenon. Within this context, four prominent theories (self-justification theory, prospect theory, agency theory and approach avoidance theory) are discussed and contrasted for their relative applicability for explaining escalation of commitment. Moreover, escalation is reviewed as a phenomenon and suggestions for further research are also presented (for example, certain considerations on de-escalation).

How to Cite: Ali, M.W., 2007. Project escalation and IT management. iSCHANNEL, 2(1), pp.11–14.
Published on 01 Sep 2007.
Peer Reviewed


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