The Words Not (or Less) Spoken

In our last Honestly Lay Bare we undertook a word analysis of the blog posts of the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Institute of Internal Auditors, Richard Chambers for the year finishing on March 14, 2016.

We are often surprised by the quantum of our readers’ feedback and never more so than with regards to this missive.

Many of the responders pointed out areas that they thought had been poorly covered or not addressed in the relevant population set.  Without seeking to unduly offend our highly engaged and clearly intelligent readership base the observations of what was lacking more than likely reflected the known or subconscious biases of the correspondent.

So what then do the actual words – all 41,500 – tell us about what is not being addressed or being addressed at a frequency that is lower than what we expected.

Before we start we want to use the same caveat that we adopted last time – it should be noted that these blog posts are clearly stated as Chambers’ personal reflections and so may not represent the official view points of the Institute of Internal Auditors.  Having said that – the blog does appear on an Institute of Internal Auditors webpage.

So lets meander into the wordsmith of the President of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

We start with the word “member” (or variations thereof).  

In the receipt of our correspondents views this was a word that many expected to be higher in its ranking – given that the IIA is a membership organisation – than was the case.  

Member comes in as the 249th ranked word mentioned with 23 mentions. We when saw this, and relying on the impregnability of the god of technology (in this case word searches), we thought that our correspondents were mistaken.  

Alas they are not.  

The word “member” is mainly used in relationship with Audit Committee membership.  There is indeed a paucity of discussion about membership of the individual of the IIA.

We then move on to one of our harbingers – China.  

China as a word (not as an object which we have assumed would not appear in this type of analysis!) came in as the 464th rated word being mentioned 13 times.  

Whilst this seems commendable what the data analysis does not show is that the majority of these mentions came in one post in April 2015.  

We respectfully submit – again – that the IIA is doing itself a spectacular disservice in not focusing greater attention on what, by some accounts, is already the world’s largest economy and if not will most likely be so by 2020.

We are yet to really see the discussion within the IIA as to whether the concept of internal audit – premised as it is on what is largely a democratic based notion of checks and balances – can succeed in a proudly Communist country.

And don’t even get us started on another jurisdiction that we often mention – India.  

The world’s largest democracy (and hence perhaps internal audit’s largest laboratory of the application of checks and balances) is mentioned only once.  India is the 4,216th most mentioned word in the analysis.

We then moved into the cloud – we worked on the theory that the word cloud is a likely companion to the discussion of emerging technologies including cloud based services and the (malicious or otherwise) misadventure that could be visited this technology.

In all 41,500 words the word cloud is mentioned not once.  

How can that be?  Is our population set and or our data analysis flawed?  Assuming that it isn’t – how can we go a year without the IIA considering the ramifications of one of the most disruptive technologies of our time.

This analysis is endless (and actually quite a fun exercise to do) so we have decided to impose a limit on our merriment.

We finish with one last word that for us sums up internal audit – that word: integrity.

Without integrity the auditor is but a functionary of another person’s agenda.  

With integrity the auditor stands tall within the organisation that she has been empowered to serve.

Integrity is the 612th most mentioned word being referenced 10 times in the space of a year.

Of course we would have liked to see it mentioned many more times than that.

What was interesting though was the words that were mentioned in the same breath (frequency).

Above integrity comes responsibility (611th most mentioned word).  

Below integrity comes fail (613th most mentioned word).

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

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