Electroceramics represent a large and technically important class of materials, yet they suffer from the same mechanical shortfalls that many other ceramic systems experience, particularly low fracture toughness. Numerous efforts to improve the mechanical durability have been undertaken, many of which involve the addition of secondary particles or whiskers necessary to activate external toughening mechanisms. And while these attempts have been successful in improving toughness, dielectric and piezoelectric properties have suffered. Rather than continuing to focus on external toughening mechanisms, we are focusing on intrinsic mechanisms such as ferroelastic switching. This mechanism is closely coupled to the electromechanical response of electroceramics, such as lead zirconate titante PZT or barium titantate (BTO), and can be challenging to decouple. This is further complicated by highly anisotropic polycrystalline microstructures. The contribution of ferroelastic switching to the toughness of ceramic coatings or devices is usually described in terms of transformation strain, cohesive stress and two process zone parameters. It is typically assumed that the microstructure is a randomly oriented single-phase polycrystal with little or no input of grain size or distribution, elastic anisotropy or crystallographic constraints. Examples from various applications that depend on the effective activation of this mechanism, ranging from thermal barrier coatings to piezoactuators, will be used to emphasize the morphological factors that must be better understood. These examples will include the influence of coherent boundaries between ferroelastically active/inactive domains, loss of this coherency, grain size, and phase fraction. Micromechanical methods under development to strategically probe specific microstructural configurations will also be described.