Some cultures (ethnic and company) make speaking your mind difficult if not impossible. Too many bosses operate with the mind-set that when they want your opinion they will give it to you. Some cultures teach younger people to keep quiet around their elders, even when mistakes are obvious. In the US, for the most part and with the exception of the current “politically correct speech” epidemic, we seem to have overcome that as a culture. Though too many companies and bosses still work that way.
While we may never know, I suspect that at least part of the cause of the Asiana Airlines crash at SFO over the weekend was a culture of silence. The pilot flying the plane was apparently the senior pilot in terms of age and experience, but not with a 777, where he was being trained. It appears that he as too low and going too slow and must have been for some time, but it wasn’t until seven seconds before the crash that the other pilot was willing to speak up. I doubt he did not see the problem, the question is what kept him silent?
Is the culture of your company causing your best people to keep silent or worse, to agree with you when they should not?