The receiver of the incongruent messages is prevented from withdrawing from the situation or commenting on it. This condition occurs, for example, when persons believe that being fired or demoted or becoming unemployed are imminent possibilities or when persons come to feel “trapped” in their organizations because of their age or relatively obsolete skills and qualifications.
This condition is also likely to occur in organizations that deal with life-and-death emergencies and emotionally intense problems, like prisons, correctional facilities, police forces, armed forces, hospitals, mental institutions, and fire departments. The large differences in emotional intensity between life inside and outside such organizations, the necessity of strong unit cohesion and clear leadership in recurrent emergency situations, and the classified nature of some activities all limit the possibilities of making comments inside and outside these organizations.
From Max Visser Academy of Management Review article (2007, Vol. 32, No. 2, 659–667.) “Deutero-learning in Organizations: A review and a reformulation.”
Which is part of why things don’t change. Who’d be a whistleblower?
See also: Dan Kahan and the Cultural Cognition project