Update July 2007: The Laudably link is dead.
Jevon MacDonald at Laudably posts on the threat represented by cultures where silence reins supreme. No one speaks, even when they know something is wrong. A couple HBR articles inspire this discussion. Break the Silence
The fact is that silence is strangling many organizations today. Employees and management are encouraged to speak out at only the most opportune time, after the appropriate lobbying has been done and they have their ducks in a row. This cultural quirk is often good for everyone as the person bringing the idea forward can avoid the embarrassment of having an idea "shot down" in a meeting or formal setting, and anyone above them on the hierarchy can feel as though they have already contributed to the idea, even if only by having known of it before it was presented.
We need to move the culture from the command and control that squelches discussion to an open environment, where people can discuss the issues without fear of personal attack. Take a look at what Jevon has to say.