The conclusion came from a survey by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and emerged a day before the UK’s corporate governance regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, issued its own report on corporate culture.
The IIA’s survey also found that only 36% of organisations assess whether their defined culture is “manifested” in the behaviour of their staff.
In further results the institute found that 20% of respondents plan to include culture in their audits. However, a quarter of those polled said they had no plans to include culture in their audits over the next 12 months.
Dr Ian Peters, chief executive of the IIA, said: “Managing culture is a vital issue for boards, to ensure not only that they are setting the right tone at the top, but that all employees are acting in accordance with the organisation’s ethics and values.
“Auditing culture is not an exact science. Many organisations struggle to define their culture, let alone incorporate it effectively into their risk evaluation and assurance processes. But it is essential that they do so.”
The institute questioned 220 heads of internal audit for the research.
The report provided three recommendations on culture. Boards should articulate their expectations around values and behaviours; review how data and technology are used to provide assurance on culture; and embed a culture that promotes trust and encourages “speaking up”, and sets clear benchmarks for acceptable behaviour.