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Auditing Culture: Observation and Data

Online Exclusives ​James Roth Reid, PhD, CIA, CCSA, CRMA Aug 30, 2019

Gauging the organization’s cultural climate is often best achieved with a two-pronged approach.

There are many ways to audit an organization's culture. With strong support from the top and sufficient resources, some internal audit functions adopt a comprehensive, resource-intensive method. For others — I suspect most — it is best to start with a fairly simple approach and build from there. One such approach combines auditors' observations with data metrics. And because this strategy is not dramatically different from traditional audit techniques, clients shouldn't find it jarring or outside the norm. When implemented correctly, it can be a powerful means of gauging the cultural environment.

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​James Roth Reid, PhD, CIA, CCSA, CRMA

James Roth Reid is president of AuditTrends LLC in Hastings, Minn., and author of Best Practices: Evaluating the Corporate Culture. He received Internal Auditor’s John B. Thurston award for the article, “How to Audit Culture” and conducts the seminar, Auditing Culture: Challenges and Proven Techniques for The IIA.