Desire for Certainty Biases Organizations to Pursue Savings Rather than Gains

Organizations are attracted to the illusion of certainty: they are fundamentally risk-averse and will pursue tactics that they believe are sure things rather than pursue less knowable, but potentially more profitable, lines of inquiry.

Because savings are easier to measure than potential gains, organizations will tend to seek the comfort of what is knowable over what is possible and cut costs rather than invest in the future. Costs can be fixed; opportunities are uncertain.



Martin, Roger L. “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning.” Harvard Business Review, January 1, 2014.

Sutherland, Rory. “The Illusion of Certainty.” The Spectator (blog), April 22, 2020.