Facts or knowledge? A Review of private internal reports of investigations by Fraud examiners
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Management, Knowledge and Learning. 2018, 7 (2), 165-187.
The purpose of this article is to reﬂect on the difference between facts and knowledge, as we suggest that knowledge is facts combined with interpreta-tion, context, and reﬂection. The distinction is important when investigators search for causality. The reason for misconduct in organizations, and thus whom to blame, is dependent on a thorough interpretation and reﬂection on facts studied in the proper context. This article presents a sample of seven-teen investigation reports by fraud examiners to illustrate the difference be-tween facts and knowledge. When facts remain facts, then the blame game can easily occur. This article ﬁrst presents the theory of convenience to ex-plain ﬁnancial misconduct in organizations, and the blame game hypothesis, before we introduce the sample. The purpose of this article is not to criti- cize generally the work that fraud examiners do in private internal investiga-tions for their clients. Rather it intends to reﬂect upon the difference between facts and knowledge when it comes to reasons for deviance in organizations. Causality is difﬁcult to establish, and it seems tempting to some fraud exam-iners to enter into the blame game to make sure that they draw conclusions from investigations that clients have paid for.