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McKinsey 7S questions

Visit www.iia.org.uk/culture for more information about auditing organisational culture.

Question Observations
Shared values
1 Are the value statements and codes of conduct
clear and meaningful?
2 Are values regularly reviewed, evaluated and
approved at Board level?
3 Do senior managers proactively (formally and
informally) communicate the organisation’s values
4 Does seniorofmanagement
and codes conduct? behaviour exemplify the
values and codes of conduct — do they 'walk the
5 Do employees understand the values and codes of
6 Are the values and code of conduct reinforced? –
the stories, symbols, rituals etc. that relay success.
7 Are the values built into strategy documents,
objectives and decision making?
8 Do employees acknowledge, accept and apply the
values and codes of conduct?
9 Are there barriers (real or perceived) to the
implementation of values and the code of conduct?

Question Observations

1 Are the board and audit committee involved sufficiently in
evaluating the effectiveness of the 'tone at the top?'
2 Do the board and managers show a desire to address
culture issues in an open and transparent way?
3 Do the board receive sufficient and timely information about
sensitive issues?
4 Are the board and audit committee members independent of
management and willing to ask the tough questions?
5 Do informal and formal processes exist for employees to be
able to raise issues about behaviour i.e. grievance,
6 whistleblowing
Where this has etc.?
arisen are the issues taken seriously?

7 Do employees feel that senior managers listen to their ideas

and suggestions?
8 Are exceptions to policy allowed under clearly defined
When they occur
9 Compliance are law
with the theyand
regulationsexplained, and
is taken seriously?
10 Are mistakes treated as an opportunity for improvement or
used to apportion blame?
11 Do managers foster teamwork and an atmosphere of mutual

Question Observations
1 Are the skills, experience and knowledge of people
matched to the competencies required for the job?
2 Are training programmes visible and accessible to all?

3 Is training aligned to shared values – e.g. ethical

business, customer treatment?
4 Is training aligned with the skills and knowledge
necessary for the job?
5 Is training an expression that people in the organisation
are valued?
6 Are there multiple training options to fit circumstances
and needs?
7 Are training programmes evaluated to ensure they are
8 Are there arrangements in place to ensure sharing of
skills and knowledge?

Question Observations
1 Do employees have job descriptions that align with
the values and codes of conduct?
2 How does the recruitment process emphasis the
values/code of conduct and seek to align these
expectations with that of candidates?
3 Do employees understand their job descriptions?

4 Do managers and employees regard performance

appraisals as frank with constructive discussion of
performance issues versus 'going through the motions'?
5 Do performance objectives include how employees are
demonstrating the values and codes of conduct in their
day to day working?
6 Do employees feel performance targets are SMART?
7 measurable,
Do employeesachievable, realistic,
feel that they have time-related)
an equal chance of
promotion based upon merit?
8 Do bonus packages and other performance measures
reward the right behaviour?
9 Are employees unduly pressured to meet targets?
‘Whatever it takes’.
10 Is the staff appraisal process applied consistent and
11 Are there mechanisms in place to capture and evaluate
employee ideas on improvements to ways of working?

Question Observations

1 Is strategy and supporting objectives of business units
clearly set out and aligned to those of the
2 organisation?
Strategy and objectives of business units are
periodically re-assessed and re-aligned?
3 Do employees feel that strategic objectives apply to
them? ownership?
4 Do employees have job descriptions and performance
objectives that align with strategy and objectives?
5 Do managers and employees understand the risks they
6 Are employees encouraged to understand risks and be
involved in the risk management process?
7 Is the organisation’s risk appetite understood and
applied to objectives and decisions by managers and
8 employees?
Are plans and actions put in place when there is
divergence of actual performance from strategic

Question Observations

1 Does the structure of the business unit facilitate the flow
of information upwards, downwards, and across
organizational lines?
2 Are reporting relationships appropriate? (2nd and 3rd lines
of defence have sufficient independence of the activities
they are providing assurance upon)
3 Are accountabilities clearly defined?
4 Are responsibilities and accountabilities clearly
communicated and understood?

Question Observations
1 Are the values built into and impact decision making
2 Is there a common and clearly understood set of
processes set that underpin core business activities?

3 Do employees consider controls and regulations within

system are necessary and apply to them?

4 Security of personal data within systems is taken

5 Does the organisation take customer service complaints
6 Are customers complaints communicated to the
appropriate levels of management and responded to
appropriately in an open and effective way?
7 Does the organisation take customer complaints
8 Is the appointment of suppliers and contractors
transparent and equitable?

9 Is the organisation committed to working ethically

with business partners?
10 Does the organisation have adequate procedures to
prevent bribery and corruption?