What the French call “professional deformation” means that immersion in the usages and habits of one’s career warps individuals. The well-learned procedures of one profession may be dysfunctional in another. It sounds simple and self-evident, but it confounds executives time and again.

With many variations, there are two general types of organizations, the hierarchical and the dispersed. Both deform individuals to fit different professional cultures. Manufacturing and hospitals are in the first. Here central executives draw on their education and experience to devise plans that they issue as orders. If disobeyed, executives get snappish.

Dispersed — or feudal or fragmented — structures are more complex and individualistic than hierarchical structures. Congress has been called barely organized chaos. In Washington as a whole, nothing is permanently settled. Fragmented structures require constant negotiation among groups, some of which can slow or veto policy and practices. No one lays down the law.

An example of hierarchy is a football quarterback’s call to run a certain play. Individual players take advantage of accidents, say, by intercepting a pass, but improvisation is not built in. Soccer and rugby are closer to the fragmented model. Their messy fields defy organizing. Players may be assigned roles but ignore them to drive the ball downfield and snap it to other players. Goals depend on individual skill and taking split-second advantage of opportunities.

One of the most bizarre forms of organization is academia, a partially medieval remnant. College presidents, especially from business, suppose they are in charge but face multiple veto groups: trustees, alumni, coaches, departments and occasionally angry students. College presidents may think they can fire superfluous or obnoxious faculty members but discover they’re protected by tenure contracts.

A college president from the business world may try to incentivize faculty behavior by monetary rewards and punishments. Trouble is, academics are paid with prestige more than with dollars. And prestige comes from a faculty that publishes learned books and articles. Prestige is like money in the bank for a college. Prestige draws better students, faculty and donors to enable the college to survive lean times that make weak colleges desperate.

Many voters assume that getting rich proves the ability to make the national economy hum. This often turns dysfunctional, as in today’s Washington when the hierarchical business culture tries to manage the fragmented federal culture. Now two distinct business subcultures — one real estate, the other Bloomberg’s financial information — bid for the presidency.

As Huntington observed long ago, the U.S. federal structure contains feudal remnants in the separation of powers. As such, an American businessperson thrust into the upper reaches of Washington is likely to experience and inflict frustration. Rex Tillerson, an engineer who advanced to the top of ExxonMobil, was baffled at the State Department, which he attempted to redo. He had negotiated friendly oil deals with Russia and Saudi Arabia and expected to do similar political deals, but they are different games.

Tillerson, who was fired after just 14 months, cut State’s budget, froze hiring and installed efficiency experts to restructure and simplify the sprawling department. Morale plummeted; many resigned. It’s gotten even worse under Pompeo, who has not defended his own people (which will be used against him should he run for the Senate in Kansas).

Almost the opposite, General Jim Mattis was formed by the Marine Corps. He was an excellent appointment and comfortable in the Defense Department, which he did not try to redo. Mattis acquired a lifetime culture of looking after the troops and rational but flexible planning. He also worked within Washington’s complexity. Mattis couldn’t abide Trump’s impetuous strategic decisions and served 23 months.

Trump was formed within his own private, hierarchical organization aimed exclusively at his personal gain. He demands loyalty and ignores warnings. Never admitting error or apologizing, he does whatever he wants, basing decisions on agreeable personal contact and ignoring facts and ethical boundaries. Trump assumed the presidency gave him even more power, absolute power.

Trump is frustrated and angry that key parts of the federal government do not obey him. Federal courts rule that records — including tax returns — must be turned over. Congress refuses to cease its “witch hunt” and overrides him on Russia and China. Trump casually moves funds from Defense to build a wall with Mexico.

Career diplomats, trained to observe rules, block his designs, so Trump bypasses them and has his personal attorney do a “drug deal” (Bolton’s words) to demand that Ukraine report presumed dirt on Biden. Trump tweets that intimidating career civil- and foreign-service officials — they’re just employees — is free speech. Everything is personal; nothing is institutional.

U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, fearing for her safety, was warned to “get on the next plane out of Kiev.” Was this a protective warning or a threatening one? Did it foresee mere career setbacks or actual physical violence? Who wanted that message delivered? The president’s lawyer? The stench of Ukrainegate turns uncontrollable and accelerates impeachment.