I am curious what the definitions of "insubordinate" and "inappropriate" are in the context of workplace behaviors.

  • Really company-specific and perhaps opinionated, could you narrow down your question? – DarkCygnus Jan 24 '18 at 23:31
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    A dictionary should tell you what "insubordinate" means, but "inappropriate" is very vague and general (a dictionary would probably also tell you that). – Bernhard Barker Jan 24 '18 at 23:49
  • the job is in a para-military organization. I understand that insubordinate means to not follow chain of command, but inappropriate is not defined, and tends to get used for things like simply asking what a meeting is about, or being honest with your boss when they have insulted you and you let them know it....confusing. – Liza Jan 25 '18 at 0:23
  • Both of these would be clearly spelled out in your employee handbook. – BirdLawExpert Jan 25 '18 at 1:55
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    You might want to edit that "para-military" part into your question. What constitutes "inappropriate" at a military institution and what constitutes "inappropriate" at most workplaces around the country are probably quite different, I suspect. – Steve-O Jan 25 '18 at 4:13

I think this may be a bit dependent to interpretation, but venturing to answer what you ask we should analyze the definitions of those words first:

Based on these, we can say that an insubordinate is someone who defies or neglects authority (managers, leads, etc.), perhaps by making their own calls despite official courses of action to be taken. This should be really universal across many workplaces, and it is usually clear when a case of insubordination takes place.

We can also say that something inappropriate is something that does not fit to the code of conduct of a specific company, or well to the expected behavior or professional interaction between any fellow worker. Saying impolite/rude things, or mixing personal situations with your job are example of inappropriate behaviors across many companies.

I also suggest you contact your HR department, or whomever corresponds, to inquire about the specific cases that are considered insubordination or inappropriate for your current company, so you are better prepared to interact professionally in such place.

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