All businesses have hierarchies, of course - without order, there is chaos. But some hierarchies are more rigid than others. The danger for employees stuck in stricter environments is that they actually become accustomed to not speaking up.
Egyptians have had a field day with the shoe-thrower story. According to one joke, the U.S. accused Syria of being behind the shoe attack, citing phone taps that intercepted the word "shoo" (Arabic for "what").