The influence of anger and sunk cost effect on project status: an extension to portfolios of projects

Balatia, Heba Salem Ibrahim (2021) The influence of anger and sunk cost effect on project status: an extension to portfolios of projects. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2021balatiaphd.pdf] PDF
Download (2MB)


This research focuses on anger and sunk cost effects as sources of cognitive bias and also portfolio interactions in relation to the retention/termination decisions on projects. Departing from a traditionally narrow and quantitative perspective of traditional project appraisal, this study investigates a wider psychological view of investment project decisions within four project management groups. The thesis emphasises that the role of the specific emotion of anger is influenced by the past sunk cost of projects and the effects of a portfolio of projects across the whole firm.

In the sense that project retention is perceived to be a positive outcome of anger, it has arguably been neglected in empirical entrepreneurship and strategic decision-making research, but this study claims that the retention and termination of projects may be analysed using psychological theories of emotions. A case study based on a Palestinian holding company, therefore, investigates the influence of anger, the sunk cost effect and portfolio considerations on project retention and termination.

The holding company under study operates in an uncertain political context likely to be a rich laboratory eliciting high levels of anger, thus highlighting their role. This study conducts fifteen emotion assessment surveys using a STAXI-2 inventory and content and thematic analyses of fifteen interviews, adopting multi-levels of analysis, and claims to make contributions to the entrepreneurship, strategic decision-making and psychology literatures. The analysis reports that anger has an important emotional influence on decisions. It demonstrates three main findings, i.e. mostly positive associations between anger, the sunk cost effect and portfolio considerations and project retention. It also presents four subsidiary findings. Hope emerged as the second most important emotion and is claimed to be associated with project retention. Other emotions also co-exist with anger and may have influenced retention decisions, and findings reveal an association between corporate identity (i.e. a factor emerged from data) and project retention. Finally, in an atypical case, anger is found to encourage project termination.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Buck, Prof. Trevor and Wincenciak, Dr. Joanna
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82487
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2021 09:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 10:01
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82487

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year