Internal audit stigma impairs internal audit outcomes

Prior research finds that the internal audit function (IAF) plays a critical role in organizations, yet there is still a stigma toward the profession. We examine how this stigma affects internal audit outcomes, using three different data sources: survey results from parts of Europe (113 observations) and the United States (124 observations) for the year 2017 and an experiment (65 observations) in 2018. We find that when internal auditors in parts of Europe and the U.S. believe there is a negative stigma about internal auditing, they report negative work outcomes, including less ability to add value, less influence in the organization, more resistance to implementing their recommendations, and more pressure to change audit findings. Our experimental results confirm the survey findings and provide further evidence that negative stigma causes participants to perceive less value in internal audit reports and that internal audit recommendations are less influential in decision-making. Taken together, the results suggest that negative perceptions of internal audit have a significant impact on the profession.


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