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Quickly, now

Information and the P = NP problem – these abstractions likely chase more individuals away than lure them into contemplating the complexity of the issues identified. By way of analogy, social media such as LinkedIn allow for quick but superficial verification of important information, including history of employers and education, without solving for the issues of integrity, fraud, and character of the information-provider, which implicate processes that are often not so quick. Open information-processing systems like LinkedIn are not the only forms of communication presenting the risk of social desirability bias. Information upon which managers in the private, public, and independent sectors rely is processed under proprietary automated procedures of computer-based technology and under editorial (manual) direction of its interpreters (and sponsors), who decide not only what goes into the mix but what it means. Consider omitted variable bias as an issue that should not be ignored by managers in theory, but in practice correction for biases slows down decision-making and result in the hazard of losing first mover advantage.

What is secret to the served organization is vulnerable to the same biases afflicting open macro systems but on a molar scale. Agents may play lip-service to organizational objectives lest they be dismissed from their positions, but the substance of their compliance is usually less rigorously tested by independent agents (for example, internal auditors) as they rise higher inside the organizational pyramid, especially where serious issues such as payments of bribes and receipts of kickbacks are usually only resolvable through lengthy and impartial investigation that goes outside the internal records and into the micro level of side agreements and disguised exchanges between individuals. Few get promoted by challenging the C-suite from below.

Off-the-shelf accounting information systems are predefined in form, allowing buyers to minimize labor costs and impose common controls, including segregation of duties of data input, review and approval of records, custody of assets and records, and reconciliation of custody to the records. This economy of process aided and abetted significantly by computer-based technology is key for profitability and minimization of waste, leaving deeper questions such as integrity of information and information-providers and usefulness and limitations of conventional metrics (for example, output value per unit of time) for patient, independent academics, among others. Faculties such as critical thinking and problem-solving are only as powerful as allowed within the predefined bureaucracy, and whether the emperor is wearing clothes may be irrelevant in the wrongheaded organization that denies structural problems, blindly sees only opportunities, and indiscriminately shoots messengers.

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