Date of Conferral







Rebekah Cardenas


Escalation of commitment is an individual's persistent behavior at sustaining commitment to an original decision or course of action. Although researchers have found that personality impacts escalation of commitment behavior, this study addressed a gap in escalation of commitment behavior regarding personality in higher education, which has consistently been ignored. Building on the self-justification theory, this study was an investigation of (a) whether perceived self-efficacy and dispositional optimism individually predicted escalation of commitment behavior; and (b) whether perceived self-efficacy and dispositional optimism jointly predicted escalation of commitment behavior after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and tenure. Hierarchical regression was performed using a sample of 76 participants from a community college in Minnesota. Results suggested that only perceived self-efficacy will predict leaders' escalation of commitment behavior and not dispositional optimism. The result of this study has implications for positive social change by aiding effective leadership decision making, enabling better screening and recruiting process, and allowing organizations to develop specific training and intervention programs that will help educational leaders utilize their positive attributes appropriately.