Grenville J. Croll
Once information is loaded into a spreadsheet, it acquires properties that it may not deserve. These properties include believability, correctness, appropriateness, concreteness, integrity, tangibility, objectivity and authority. The information becomes reified.
We describe a case study through which we were able to observe at close hand the reification of a demonstrably incorrect and inappropriate spreadsheet model within a small non-profit organisation.
The initial spreadsheet model suggested an organisation in financial difficulties with medium term insolvency.
The projections bear no relation to the history of the organisation. Despite this inconsistency, the model became reified.
That is, the model was invested with a variety of attributes including believability, correctness, appropriateness, concreteness, integrity, tangibility, objectivity and authority.
None of these attributes were deserved, as we were able to subsequently identify and describe numerous significant weaknesses and strategic flaws in the model.