In Search of a Measure of Effectiveness for Internal Audit Functions: An Institutional Perspective

Rainer Lenz, Gerrit Sarens, Kim Klarskov Jeppesen

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Internal auditing (IA) effectiveness is still viewed, to large extent, as a “black box” in academic research. In this article, relevant empirical studies based on self-assessments of internal auditors and on other stakeholders’ perspectives are reviewed through an “effectiveness lens.” Major patterns are identified in the existing literature. This article reviews the empirical literature on IA effectiveness that has been published since the latest revision of the IA definition in 1999, using the perspectives of new institutional theory and institutional entrepreneurship as a framework, thereby recognizing the tension between institutional forces and the role of agency. In cases where isomorphic forces are in conflict with other organizational demands, chief auditing executives’ (CAE) agency can be a solution that enables local adaptation (institutional entrepreneurship). The ability to exploit fully the potential of agency is an opportunity for the CAE to tailor and advance the role of IA in its specific organizational context.
Original languageEnglish
Journal EDPACS - The EDP Audit, Control, and Security Newsletter
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 11 Sep 2018.


  • Internal auditing
  • Effectiveness
  • New institutional theory
  • Institutional entrepreneurship

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