Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

Learning to de-escalate: The effects of regret in escalation of commitment


Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Ku G


Publication Year



The current research investigates whether and how individuals are able to learn from one escalation situation to another, hypothesizing that post-escalation regret will reduce subsequent escalation. In Experiment 1, individuals participated in an escalation task after escalating their commitments in a first escalation situation. In Experiment 2, participants’ regret was manipulated by asking them to imagine engaging in an escalation situation. The experiments expand our theoretical and practical understanding of how to prevent escalation of commitment by demonstrating that escalation-specific regret—either experienced from an earlier escalation or primed through imagining an escalation scenario—reduced subsequent escalation in a different context. The discussion focuses on the theoretical and practical impact of regret and emotions in general in escalation of commitment.


Escalation of commitment; Regret; Emotions; Learning

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.