1. First we begin with the slow death of Google+, although many will be quick to point out that Google+ hasn't been killed (yet), as documented by a Mashable article entitled "Inside the Failure of Google+"
I also want to point out that Google is typically a brave company (coming in at #2 on the Brave Rankings) but this was a clear example of a fearful manager talking a brave leader into a fearful decision.
I'm not going to ruin much about the article for you but this quote stood out to me and highlights the fear-based decision making that led to the birth of Google+:
"Vic was just this constant bug in Larry's ear: 'Facebook is going to kill us. Facebook is going to kill us,'" says a former Google executive. "I am pretty sure Vic managed to frighten Larry into action. And voila: Google+ was born."
2. There is a very cool example from Popular Science about ants and the biological example of how conservatism (often based out of fear) can keep organizations from meeting its full potential
The article chronicles studies of ants and how they cooperate together to carry larger pieces of food for long (relative to the spatial sizes of ants) distances. It was partially due to the ants conformist mentality, but there was much to be learned about their group leadership and efficiency.
Specifically, the group think of the group required that individual leader ants from outside the group get involved to re-direct them to the best, direct path until they lost track and then another leader ant would join the pack.
The conclusion of scientists?
In effect, says Feinerman, the larger groups were collectively too conservative, which prevented them from completing the task."
Read the whole report, there is a very cool video of the scene to kill some time as well.