This is so absolutely true that its painful, because I have seen this first hand.
The thing you must do is try to figure this out before you join a company, because this tiptoeing around people's feelings seems to work really well at shit and spectacularly average companies. So if you go into a place where this is the accepted way of doing things and try to be the straight shooter, you'll find yourself on everybody's shit list because that's just the way things are done, and in short order (depending on the level of sociopathy that prevails at your particular firm) very strange things will start to happen to your career.
It seems to be that at companies that are doing really amazing things, with really smart and accomplished people, this is not the case.
I also think that this might be a function of culture in the city you work, So while a more unfiltered approach might not raise eyebrows in New York, doing that in Texas could cause problems