Defensive decisions with VAk

When it comes to important decisions, employees often find themselves in a conflict: Do they make decisions in the organization’s best interest or do they make a decision that they can’t be blamed for in case it goes wrong? We measure, analyze, and improve an organization’s risk culture in a way that employees feel less compelled to protect themselves against negative outcomes.

Defensive decision making: What is it?

A defensive decision is when the decision maker does not choose the best option for the company, but instead chooses the one that involves the least risk for him or her. Our studies, including those with the Berlin administration, show that it is possible to significantly reduce the frequency of defensive decisions as well as the costs associated with them.

Are you making defensive decisions?

If so, you are not alone.

If you have made decisions defensively in the last 12 months, you are not alone. Our studies in various public and private organizations show that 20-50% of decisions are made defensively. This holds for all hierarchy levels.

Why now is a good time for change.

Especially in difficult and uncertain times, we have to risk making mistakes as we look for new approaches and solutions. Fear of making mistakes and personal accountability are important drivers of defensive decisions.

The consequences are costly.

Defensive decision-making leads to considerable damage. Our studies show that at least 4-10% of annual revenues are lost due to defensive decision making and a negative error culture. 

3 steps for better decisions

Using our scientific approach, we are able to assess the spread and frequency of defensive decisions in your organisation. 


We then identify those areas in which the consequences of defensive decisions are particularly detrimental. Working closely with managers and teams, we identify the causes of defensive decisions and jointly create a basis for a more positive error culture. 


Our behavioral science interventions, tailored to each company, teach how to positively deal with risk and error and have been successful in reducing defensive decision-making by up to 50%.

Are you also losing potential and missing out on opportunities because of defensive decisions?
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