Monday, November 4, 2013

Obamacare and Escalation of Commitment

There's a room where the light won't find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do I'll be right behind you
--Tears for Fears

Recount of the decisions over the span of 3 years that sealed the fate of the Obamacare website rollout. This is classic Staw (1976, 1981), Fox and Staw (1979) stuff. Bureaucratic error exacerbated by political calculation leads to escalating commitment to a failing course of action.

Moving forward, we can be confident about a couple of things. One is that this administration is 'all in' regarding Obamacare and likely sees no alternative but to barrel ahead regardless of cost.

The other is that the bureaucratic errors and economic costs will continue to escalate until the program collapses under its own weight.


Fox, F.V. & Staw, B.M. 1979. The trapped administrator: Effects of job insecurity and policy resistance upon commitment to a course of action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24: 449-471.

Staw, B.M. 1976. Knee deep in the big muddy: A study of escalating commitment to a chosen course of action. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16: 27-44.

Staw, B.M. 1981. The escalation of commitment to a course of action. Academy of Management Review, 6: 577-587.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.
~Albert Einstein