This paper analyses the internal auditor's role from a perspective which emphasises the pluralist nature of organisational life. The internal auditor operates in organisational contexts where norms and values are at best only partially shared, and where the auditor's formal concern for improved efficiency and control of resource use may be viewed with varying degrees of favour. The pluralist nature of organisational life reflects itself in day‐to‐day strains, tensions and conflicts between internal auditors and auditees, which cannot be eliminated through traditional “Human Relations” approaches to organisational problems. There are inherent conflicts between audit and other organisational roles, and also insofar as its modern conception is concerned, within the internal auditor's role itself.
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