Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying a superior, by being disrespectful to that superior, or by refusing to follow an instruction given by that superior. As an example of insubordination, a soldier who disobeys a superior officer in the military is likely to be disciplined. If someone refuses to perform an action that is unethical or illegal in nature, however, it is not considered to be insubordination; neither is refusing to obey an order issued by someone who does not have authority to command the individual in the first place. To explore this concept, consider the following insubordination definition.