job Fordypning

Virtual Classroom: Auditing Culture

The course will cover the important differences between culture, sub-culture and behaviour and the challenges of this as an area to be looked at.

Risk and control issues are increasingly attributed to cultural and behavioural short-comings, but what exactly do we mean by this? In addition, internal auditors are increasingly being asked to comment on the culture of the departments and organisations they audit.

This course will examine what we mean by culture and how to approach a cultural audit.  

The course will cover the important differences between culture, sub-culture and behaviour and the challenges of this as an area to be looked at. It will question common approaches that this can be addressed simply by surveys and interviews and “go back to basics” around IIA standards and an appropriate “joined up” role for internal audit in this rather subjective and sensitive arena.

We will be using Zoom for this session and offer training in advance to get you familiar with Zoom and make sure you are able to log on. If your organiszation do not allow Zoom and you have no other access to a private computer or i-pad, you are welcome to attend from our office in Vika, Oslo via IIA Norway’s computer.

Who should attend?

Heads of internal audit and audit managers.

What will I learn?

Upon completion you will be able to:

  • understand the key elements of culture and the different foundations to assess this
  • understand the difficulties in any assessment methodology including issues around sub-cultures and behaviours
  • consider the way culture interacts with other governance, risk, assurance and compliance processes – culture does not sit apart from these factors
  • help participants better understand the culture(s) of their organisation that may be “hiding in plain sight”
  • understand the different ways to approach a cultural audit and the political sensitivities to manage
  • consider how the IIA standards can help; particularly concerning risk, criteria, evidence, action planning
  • understand latest guidance on this topic.

Course programme

  • definitions and models of culture
  • sub-cultures – country cultures and behaviours
  • differences between the espoused and real culture – understanding defensive routines 
  • what can and cannot be inferred from staff surveys
  • the psychology of decision making and how this may be influencing culture
  • group dynamics and politics
  • models of organisational effectiveness that can be used as a way of approaching cultural issues
  • understanding the relationship between culture, risk appetite and audit themes
  • practical ways to begin auditing culture
  • recognising the limits of internal audit in this area, how assurances on culture can be out of date very quickly


James C. Paterson is a finance professional who then became the Chief Audit Executive for AstraZeneca PLC. He has been consulting and training since 2010 and delivers workshops for 12 IIA institutes across Europe, including Belgium. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. James has also presented at several 3 IIA International conferences on a range of topics. He is the author of the book “Lean Auditing” which is about new ways of auditing to drive efficiency and effectiveness and added value. His specialist areas of work include Assurance Mapping, Root cause analysis, Audit culture and influencing and political savvy for internal auditors.


You will receive 7 CPE’s including 2 mandatory ethics CPE’s for attending this course.

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