Although teams benefit from developing plans and processes that boost efficiency and reduce uncertainty, they may become too attached to these plans and escalate commitment when an alternative response is needed. Drawing on theories of team leadership, team processes and escalation of commitment, we propose that a change in leadership can help the team reduce commitment to outdated plans and avoid further escalation over time. Across two studies, we tested and found support for our hypotheses and provide evidence that leadership change can break the cycle of escalation by enhancing leader-driven team reflection and refocusing the team on error correction instead of additional investment. We discuss how the results of these studies extend existing theory and add to our understanding of the important role leaders play in enhancing team adaptation and preventing team escalation.
Kalmanovich-Cohen, H., Pearsall, M.J., & Christian, J.S. (2018). The effects of leadership change on team escalation of commitment. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(5), 597-608. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.03.004.