Does the chief audit executive gender matter to internal audit effectiveness? Evidence from Tunisia

Ahmed Atef Oussii (Institut Supérieur d’Administration des Affaires, Universite de Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Mohamed Faker Klibi (Department of Finance and Accounting, Laboratoire de recherche LARIME – ESSECT, École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales, Université de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia)

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

ISSN: 2040-0705

Publication date: 24 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether chief audit executive (CAE) gender has a significant impact on the internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness as proxied by the extent to which the internal audit function uses quality assurance techniques.


This study uses a multivariate regression model to analyze the association between CAE gender and the use of quality assurance techniques in fieldwork as a proxy for IAF effectiveness. Data were collected using a survey of 74 internal auditors from Tunisian listed companies.


The results indicate that IAFs run by a female CAE are more likely to incorporate quality assurance techniques into fieldwork than IAFs run by male CAEs. Therefore, internal audit departments managed by women tend to be more effective.

Practical implications

Findings highlight to regulators and reform advocates the importance of having women on the CAE position will improve internal audit practices’ quality. Thus, the gender difference in internal auditing should be more strongly emphasized in different cultural and economic contexts.


This study provides new insights which add to the existing gender literature by introducing a North African perspective and simultaneously providing new insights that highlight the importance of having women on top management positions in internal auditing and the positive effects which come with it.



Oussii, A. and Klibi, M. (2019), "Does the chief audit executive gender matter to internal audit effectiveness? Evidence from Tunisia", African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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