March 07, 2008

The Concorde Fallacy

The Concorde Fallacy: the probability of continued investment in an activity is directly proportional to the investment already made, and entirely independent of the prospects of the activity's successful outcome.

In the original Anglo-French aircraft project taxpayers managed to expend 660 million pounds to earn a total revenue of 280 million operating 16 planes for the benefit of conspicious expenditure by the rich and famous.

Likewise once an institution fails to recognise bullying in the workplace, the financial and emotional expenditure demands further efforts to prove that the allegation is unfounded

Contribution by Stuart

[Also known as the Concorde Effect, sunk cost fallacy, or our boys shall not have died in vain fallacy. In economics, any past investment which cannot be altered by present or future actions is considered to be sunk cost. The Concorde fallacy is the act of allowing sunk cost to affect future investment decisions. - From:]


Anonymous said...

Since 2003, Kingston University has spent:-
£903,727.70 on HR related legal fees.

How much would it have cost to simply NOT bully staff members?

Stuart said...

I believe a competent scientific analysis would show that bullying has direct and immediate benefits to the bully and the bully's employer (in the same sense that robbery and murder might also have direct and immediate benefits), but the long-term effect would be indisputably costly in lost productivity, sickness, staff turnover, de-skilling and opportunity costs (i.e. the potential activities that bullying replaced).

But each of those HR pounds was attached to a decision, and emotion and a reputation. There was no attachment to the non-decision to confront bullying. This is why bullying (or at least the possibility of bullying) must be identified, acknowledged and acted upon from the very start of the complaints procedure. Most complaints procedures begin with denial, "both sides" of the story and "clarifying misunderstandings" that invest in supporting the bully's status.

Anonymous said...

I hope that this information (if verified) can be put into the national press. It is crucial that the public know the ways in which their money is being spent by universities and that students know how their fees are being used...

...I wonder how much of those legal fees are linked to defending the university against employees who claim that they are being bullied....

... we might have a league table... which university spends the largest amount of public money on legal fees defending itself against claims of bullying...?

Aphra Behn