Auditing Interactive Complexity: Challenges for the Internal Audit Profession

A.L.P. Nuijten*, Mark Van Twist, Martijn Van der Steen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper contributes to the debate on the future of internal auditing in the context of emerging and intensifying societal, technological and organizational complexity. We apply a critical essay approach to combine the theoretical insights from the field of complexity science and the field of internal auditing. We explore how the condition of intensifying interactive complexity relates to the principles and methodologies of the internal audit profession, now and in the near future. After positioning our paper in the internal audit literature, we argue that interactive complexity poses new challenges and dilemmas to the internal audit profession. We argue that it is crucial for the profession to renew its repertoire to deal with interactive complexity, but also to remain true to the core principles of the profession. We indicate several promising routes for research and debate on the future of internal audit that may help the profession to adapt to intensifying interactive complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Auditing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Internal audit, interactive complexity, critical essay, adaptive auditing


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