Posted: August 18th, 2015



Students should submit at least five out of six reflective journal entries over the semester. Each journal entry should have a length of about 750 words – not much shorter, and not very much longer. Journal assessment will be based on (i) evidence of progress being recorded, (ii) reflection of issues in relation to contemporary analytical techniques used in business, and (iii) depth of analysis and discussion. Note that we are not asking you to summarise the lecture material and/or the online reading. Indeed, you will sometimes find that the lecture material or the online reading does not directly answer the particular question being asked. You are required to study the lecture material, the online reading, any relevant tutorial questions, and other pertinent material that you might find; then to answer the question being asked, on the basis of a synthesis of the provided material, your own research, and your own thoughts.

To attain high marks, students should ensure that their reflection is clearly linked to the specified topic, the online readings, and the conceptual material covered in the relevant lectures and tutorials, and that it shows considered analysis and discussion on the identified issues. Moreover, they will ensure that standards of academic integrity are maintained by adequately citing all references.

In your third journal entry (Journal 3), we ask you to critically reflect on the cognitive bias known as Escalating Commitment (aka Escalation of Commitment), its potential impacts on business analysis projects, and what measures can be taken to avoid such detrimental influences.
You are familiar with the Blackboard software, which is used as a Learning Management Environment (LME) at this University. The University pays a license for this software and employs several staff to manage it, but major issues with the software are escalated to the software providers. The main competing LME is Moodle, which is open source. It is possible to use Moodle free of charge, but an institution would probably still maintain employees to work on and manage it. Because it is open source, there is a large community of users who are prepared to answer questions and suggest ways of dealing with issues, and who frequently produce new features that can simply be added in. There is also an option to pay for a service contract, in which case issues can be escalated to the service provider just as with Blackboard, but the service contract is substantially cheaper than the Blackboard licence. Of course changing from one LME to another would impose the additional cost, difficult to quantify, incurred by thousands of users learning to use the new system.
In your journal, as well as commenting in general terms on escalation of commitment, indicate whether and how you think this particular issue applies to the University’s choice of LME. Please also attach, as a single pdf, your solutions to Exercise 3 (Tutorial 3, week 4).
Online Reading: Keil, K. & Robey, D. (1999). Turning around troubled software projects: An exploratory study of the deescalation of commitment to failing courses of action. Journal of Management Information Systems 15(4). pp. 63-87.

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