Can asking why also be wrong?

I enjoy reading Seth Godin’s daily posts. I share them via Twitter regularly.
Recently Godin posted a short one about importance of asking why. I agree, we should ask 'why' more often. It’s an essential question. Easy to ask and hard at the same time. It’s a great way to find out:
  • what the other thinks,
  • what their underlying convictions  are,
  • whether someone really means what he/she is saying,
  • etc.

However, can asking 'why' also be wrong?

I’ve been in an environment where lots of people asked 'why' all the time. But not for the better… Asking 'why' was a way to kill innovation and slow down the organization. It was used to make sure new ideas were not shared openly and conforming with the status quo was norm. 'Why' was used so that the questioner didn’t have to think about the idea he/she was confronted with before asking 'why'.

To me someone can ask me 'why' and I just know it’ll start a great conversation. And other times when someone asks 'why', I just feel the question isn’t asked so that both of us will learn.

I’m curious if you share my experience. And how do you handle these two ways of asking 'why'? Why? Because I want to learn from you!

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