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Escalation in Decision-MakingThe Tragedy of Taurus$
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Helga Drummond

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198289531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198289531.001.0001

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(p.177) 14 Conclusions
Escalation in Decision-Making

Helga Drummond

Oxford University Press

This book has investigated the phenomenon of escalation in decision-making to understand how and why organizations become involved in decision fiascos and why they persist once matters turn out badly. A basic theoretical question addressed by the book is whether such persistence is erroneous, or whether it is basically an economically prudent response to difficult circumstances. The research focused on a decision by the London Stock Exchange to build a multi-million-pound information technology (IT) venture known as Project Taurus, only to cancel it three years later whilst it was still under construction. Taurus is clearly a case of escalation. The project encountered a stream of negative feedback. The decision-makers were presented with at least two opportunities for withdrawal but opted to persist. Moreover, the project's subsequent collapse was not what the decision-makers envisaged. Taurus was an IT venture that involved working at the boundaries of knowledge. The project was controversial and had far-reaching implications for the entire securities industry.

Keywords:   Project Taurus, London Stock Exchange, escalation, decision-making, information technology, knowledge, withdrawal, securities industry, persistence

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