This naïve assumption ignores the poison of hierarchy, which inhibits truth-telling and disclosure. Schein gives the example of a university department chairman (a manager) who must lower telephone costs in his department. To do so, he needs help and co-operation from other professors (subordinate managers).
Option No. 1: Tell the subordinates that costs are too high. Require them to provide a detailed explanation about why. That makes those questioned defensive, and it reduces the odds of finding out the real reason.
Option No. 2: The manager inspects the list of telephone calls himself, highlights suspicious calls and asks for an explanation. This is not exactly a relationship-builder.
Option No. 3: The manager sends a memo to other managers, pointing out that costs are too high, asking whether people should have charged any of the calls to other departments or accounts, and asks the professors to monitor telephone usage.
No. 3, the humble inquiry option, worked. It turned out that some graduate students were placing calls that should have been charged to other accounts. In short, managers should embrace moral authority and ditch org-chart authority.
Here is a bonus from the book on what a "humble inquiry" looks like. Do not, repeat do not, say to someone, "Hi. How are you?" Americans are culturally conditioned to respond with, "Fine. How are you?"
Instead, to elicit real information, ask "How are things going?" coupled with an expectant look. Ditch scripted questions that call for scripted answers. Weighing in at only 110 pages, the book is a quick and useful read.