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Abstract

The willingness of managers to continue with software projects can be both beneficial and troubling. Management optimism can help bring promising projects to fruition, but can also cause valuable resources to be expended on faltering projects. This study examines three factors that can affect the willingness of managers to continue with software projects: feedback direction, feedback optimism, and accountability. Feedback direction is the objective information reflecting project prospects. Feedback optimism is the subjective mode with which the objective information has been framed. Accountability is the extent to which the manager feels responsible for project outcomes. Results of a study that manipulated these three factors showed that the effects of feedback direction and feedback optimism on willingness to continue with software projects were additive (either factor alone affected willingness to continue with software projects) when accountability was high but were interactive (both factors jointly affected willingness to continue with software projects) when accountability was low. These findings have useful implications for practice and further research.

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