Internal auditing in the Arab world: a systematic literature review and directions for future research

Saddam A. Hazaea*, Ebrahim Mohammed Al-Matari, Saleh F.A. Khatib, Khaldoon Albitar, Jinyu Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study provides a systematic review of the literature on internal auditing (IA) research in 17 Arab countries. It focuses on four key aspects, namely the quality and effectiveness of IA, the objectivity and independence of IA, the consequences of IA, and the challenges facing IA in Arab countries in order to provide insights and avenues for future research in this field. Ninety-one (91) articles collected from the Scopus database between 1996 and April 2022 were analyzed in this study. The results show that there has been an increase in the number of studies that discussed IA, especially in the last 6 years. Most of these studies have focused on the quality of IA and its functions. It also shows that Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dominate the literature published so far in terms of the number of studies. Also, most of the studies were based on agency and institutional theory evaluating the various aspect of IA. This study highlights the lack of in-depth qualitative research that allows researchers to challenge the theories developed in the auditing field, add nuances to the existing theoretical framework, and unpack new theoretical directions. Furthermore, the results also show that the IA literature did not contribute significantly to the knowledge of internal audit functions (IAFs) as specified by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). This study contributes to the body of knowledge by determining future research directions and surveys by interested researchers and regulators, including IIA.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2023


  • Arab countries
  • earning management
  • firm performance
  • internal audit quality
  • reporting quality

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