In case you're curious, there is such a thing as "publishing time," and it's similar in some respects. An editor might sit on an e-mail for two weeks even though it could be answered in five minutes; an assistant might take a week to read a partial even if (s)he could reasonably get to it in an afternoon; a marketing or sales manager might take several days to post materials to an internal website even though it could probably have been done much sooner.
A lot of this is the result of the kind of prioritization and reprioritization that is endemic not only to publishing, but to any major corporate enterprise—some projects just keep getting pushed back. Some of it, however, is due to the nature of the business.
Publishing—at least in general, and at least below the very top echelons of management—is not a fast-paced business, and the sense of urgency and desire for efficiency you might find in the offices of an investment bank or law firm don't generally exist, simply because publishing doesn't generally attract the sorts of people you often find in those fields. Couple that with the overworked staff of smaller publishers and the bureaucratic red tape of the Big Six, and it's no wonder you haven't heard back about that royalty check question you posed a month ago.
Publishing professionals are not inefficient or lazy, but a combination of multitasking/prioritizing and the culture of the industry means that it may take awhile for your e-mails to be returned, your manuscript to be read, your questions to be answered. Be patient, but don't be afraid to send reminders or request something a second time if your initial query is met with a protracted silence. We're not ignoring you, I promise! We're just busy. And a little strange.