Internal audit in Italian organizations: A multiple case study

Marika Arena (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Michela Arnaboldi (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Giovanni Azzone (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Publication date: 1 March 2006



To describe the main characteristics of Internal Audit Departments in six Italian companies and investigate the influence of enacted regulations on their development.


The research has been carried out through a multiple case study, which compared the Internal Audit Departments of six Italian companies, gathering evidence by interviews with chief internal auditors, by obtaining examples of internal audit reports, policy documents and corporate briefing notes.


The range of situations considered highlighted the diversity in Internal Audit Department characteristics, confirming the relevance of institutional pressures, but also providing evidence of the influence of additional elements in their development.

Research limitations/implications

Results provided by this research cannot be regarded as generally applicable or generalizable, although this study should contribute to the development of a deeper understanding of the characteristics of Internal Audit Departments.

Practical implications

This paper highlights some elements which can influence the development of Internal Audit Department characteristics, with a focus on value added activities.


This paper has referred to institutional theory to examine the development of Internal Audit Departments and provides a valuable framework for future research. Further it provides evidence of different structural characteristics and factors which can influence companies' choices in the development and support of their Internal Audit Departments.



Arena, M., Arnaboldi, M. and Azzone, G. (2006), "Internal audit in Italian organizations: A multiple case study", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 275-292.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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