This is something that happens in IT. I expect that it happens in a lot of places.
You are asked for an estimate. You give an estimate. You are then held to the estimate as a deadline. It may even be claimed that you promised to meet the “deadline”.
Sometimes, what was asked for is elaborated on — more is asked for — but the estimate/deadline stays the same.
It should not happen that way, but it does.
My intuition on the matter is that people enforce these estimates to the degree that they do not know about the area or are not willing to take responsibility in the area that will have to produce the results. This gives them a sense of certainty, a feeling of control. It is a false certainty, but it is certainty nonetheless.
I would like to read of examples in areas outside of IT. Do you have any?