Seth Godin's excellent blog had a great piece on mass layoffs called "50:1" — the number 50 being the Bureau of Labor Statistics' threshold for a "mass layoff." Seth's point is that you're more likely to have your job evaporate than you are to get fired for "attempting to do something great."
Too many people fear getting fired for taking a risk. Sometimes that risk means bucking the system. Sometimes that risk means trying something new and unproven. And sometimes that risk means doing what is right instead of doing what you've been told.
How many people involved in the H-P pretexting scandal knew it was wrong but did it anyway out of fear of being fired for refusing? Frankly, I don't know which would be worse: not refusing out of fear, or not knowing it was wrong in the first place.
Truly excellent companies foster a culture that encourages people to take risks in doing a great thing — or doing the right thing.