Accumulation of delay retards social processes and particularly social change processes. Action of any kind in a complex society involves a multiplicity of administrative, technical and conceptual operations. The more complex the society becomes, the greater possibility of inadvertent time lags and delays between such operations which, taken in isolation, may each be relatively efficient. These might be called delays of omission. Delays may also be deliberately created by judiciously postponing meetings or decisions. This technique of intentionally delaying decisions and actions is sometimes termed stalling. It is frequently used to gain monetary, military or diplomatic advantages. Since this forestalling of meetings, actions or decisions is deliberately obstructive, as it is intended to prevent action by others, it may be considered as delay of commission.
Delays and stalling on the international level have affected decolonization, for example, and repayments of loans. Arms reduction negotiations may be heavily influenced by delaying tactics.