Disobedience is not a socially acceptable trait. Disobedience can arise from contempt, which is wilful disrespect for the authority, or from simple disagreement with the requested or ordered action.

When people who are peers of the person being accused of disobedience towards an authority are asked about their opinion, it is usually very diverse. Some of them do not wish to express their real opinion out of fear or some other reason, while some openly advocate the accused and support him or her and support the reason behind the act of disobedience.

When superiors and supervisors of the accused are asked for their opinions they usually condemn his or her actions, disregarding opinions of those who support him of her.

I believe that it is outright irresponsible to refuse to analyse the reason behind disobedience when the case is such that there are those who agree with the act.

An obvious example would be a situation that could accrue in a company.

Say that a manager is faced with a situation when an employee disobeyed to act according to a newly introduced code of conduct at workplace with justification that it is absurd in his or her opinion. It happens so that his or her colleagues are divided, but the number of those who agree is not negligible.

There are a few possible ways for a manager to react. The most severe would be termination of employment, salary reduction, demotion etc. These are not as unlikely as one would think.

In my opinion, any one of those would do more harm and would not be considered just. The reason why I think so is because there is usually more under the cover than is clearly visible. So is with the act of disobedience. The fact that one was disobedient is not questionable, but reasons should not be left unexplored.

One must understand in order to be able to manage. By removing the cause of disturbance one does not ensure that it will not repeat. It should be explored, studied, understood and learned from.

It is good to keep in mind that disobedience is a demand for change.

Sometimes, those who managers manage don’t feel that they have the right to ask for changes, so when they cannot request desired changes which would make their work and lives easier, their actions tend to indicate this nonverbally.

A good manager should know that when someone disobeys, that is not necessarily an act that had resulted from contempt or disrespect for their authority, but out of need for change. When one understands this, he or she is on a good path of becoming a well-respected and effective leader and not just an administrative worker who manages and executes orders from atop, even when they are not in the best interest of his or her co-workers and collaborators.

So I say to all who call themselves managers to find wisdom in these words: “Disobedience is a demand for change”.