Posted in Human Resources Terms, Total Reads: 1178

Definition: Insubordination

Insubordination refers to a form of misconduct, disobedience, seditious or rebelliousness done on the part of the employee. It is a willful disregard of the boss’s authority or legitimate orders given by anybody who is in power. While things like tardiness, stealing and poor quality work are easily understood as grounds for dismissal, insubordination is sometimes harder to explain and put into words. However, some acts are usually clearly subordinate. It means promoting or being engaged in defiance of an authority.


This word is often used in terms of military, where obeying the officer is very important. Disobeying an officer can lead the soldier into a lot of trouble. It also leads to a situation where somebody with less power is giving somebody with more power, a lot of trouble by disobeying them. It annoys the one in power.



• Direct disregard of the boss’s authority

• Public criticism of the boss

• Any direct disobedience of, or disobeying the boss’s orders, mainly in front of others

• Participation in (or leadership of) an effort to undermine or remove the boss

• Blatant disregard of reasonable instructions

• Deliberate defiance of clearly stated company policies, rules, regulations and procedures

• Contemptuous display of disrespect

• Disregard for the chain of command, shown by frequently going around the immediate supervisor with complaints, suggestions or political maneuvers



An employee on many occasions refused to attend a meeting with a supervisor, until or unless a union representative was a part of the meeting. As a result, the employee was discharged and subsequently filed a grievance protesting the discharge.


When a student disrespects teachers and says that no! He/she will not do the assignment, then that is a case of insubordination. Also if a teacher disobeys the principal and doesn’t do what he/she was asked to do, that is also an act of insubordination.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Insubordination along with its overview.


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