The Road to Desert Storm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of escalation of commitment is used to highlight the differences between two paradigms in the study of decision making. The rational paradigm proposes that escalation is a dysfunctional response to failure (Staw and Ross 1987). A single-option paradigm, developed in this paper, proposes that it is a necessary response to uncertainty which may, but not necessarily, result in failure. Analysis of the decision-making process of President Bush prior to Operation Desert Storm highlights the differences between the two paradigms and demonstrates how they provide different interpretations and evaluations of a given decision process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-264
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1995


  • Descriptors: decision-making
  • Israel
  • escalation of commitment
  • implementation
  • rational choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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