THE EFFECTS OF CULTURAL DIMENSIONS ON THE INTERNAL AUDIT FUNCTION – A WORLDWIDE COMPARISON OF INTERNAL AUDIT CHARACTERISTICS

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Marc Eulerich ORCID logo, Nicole V. S. Ratzinger-Sakel ORCID logo

DOI:10.22495/cocv15i3c1p6

Abstract

This study seeks to analyze if the national culture has an effect on different characteristics of the internal audit function (IAF). Using an international sample of companies from different industries together with the five cultural dimensions of Hofstede (2001) as proxies for national culture, this study analyzes how cultural differences across countries affect the structure and work of the internal audit function (IAF). In doing so, we estimate linear, logistic and ordered logistic regressions to test the effects of the different country-level cultural variables on our dependent IAF variables. While our research focus is unique, a recent paper by Bik and Hooghiemstra (2017), which has a different purpose and examines the effect of national culture on auditor-in-charge involvement, uses a similar regression approach. The results show a positive association between the different cultural dimensions, e.g. long-term orientation and uncertainty avoidance, and an objective and independent IAF. In contrast, other dimensions do not seem to be supportive for an objective and independent IAF. This exploratory study contributes to the literature in at least two ways. First, a new research approach and dimension of IAF research is used. Second, the findings indicate that different cultural dimensions have significant effects on specific IAF characteristics. The findings can help internal audit practitioners and their stakeholders to double-check if specific dimensions of national culture have an impact on IAFs’ characteristics. This study uses a unique research focus and an international dataset to examine the influence of national culture on IAF in multiple dimensions. All five Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are used to obtain a holistic of view on the effects of national and they are linked to relevant proxies which describe the culture and work of the IAF. Our results should open new research streams on internationalization and effects of culture on the IAF.

Keywords: Internal Audit Function, National Culture, Hofstede

JEL Classification: M40, M42, G34, G32, M4, G3

Received: 26.02.2018

Accepted: 23.04.2018

Published online: 18.05.2018

How to cite this paper: Eulerich, M., & Ratzinger-Sakel, N. (2018). The effects of cultural dimensions on the internal audit function – A worldwide comparison of internal audit characteristics. Corporate Ownership & Control, 15(3-1), 217-229. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv15i3c1p6