Performance Audit Effectiveness Indicators: Evidence from Poland




performance audit; effectiveness; public administration


Objective: Performance audits have become one of the essential practices used by Supreme Audit Institutions to hold the government to account for how it uses public money and contribute to the better functioning of government. Many studies acknowledge the benefits of conducting performance audits. However, it is difficult for directors of Supreme Audit Institutions and the general public to assess the effectiveness of performance audits. This study aims to broaden knowledge on performance audit effectiveness indicators.

 Research Design & Methods: Analytical induction was performed based on the opinions of five representatives of the Supreme Audit Institution collected through interviews and compared with the literature and the content of reports on the activities of the Supreme Audit Institution in 2019-2021.

Findings: Contrary to previous studies, some respondents perceived audit processes and audit results as indicators rather than as determinants of the effectiveness of performance audits. Some respondents did not perceive the interest from parliament and the impact of performance audits on other ‘knowledge generators’ to be indicators of their effectiveness. Anticipation of audit outcomes, tactical use of audits, and the related side effects also did not appear in the respondents' statements. A novelty compared to the literature is the perception of notifications of violations of the law and public finance discipline to be one of the indicators of performance audit effectiveness. Moreover, respondents assessed that performance audits are generally effective, but that there are exceptions as some are not at all or only partially effective. The assessment depends on the adopted performance audit effectiveness indicator.

 Implications/Recommendations: The research suggests that knowledge about performance audit effectiveness cannot be uncritically transferred from one country to another due to the varying institutional and social conditions in different countries. Researchers should consider this study as a comprehensive source that offers indicators of performance audit effectiveness in Poland. Awareness about how performance audit effectiveness may be measured can help directors of Supreme Audit Institutions to understand their current performance and ultimately improve it in the future.

 Contribution/ Value Added: The study sheds new light on the current practices of the Supreme Audit Institution in Poland, and deepens our knowledge performance audit effectiveness indicators in a country with different public administration traditions than Western Europe, Canada, the USA or Australia.


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Author Biographies

Piotr Bednarek

Wrocław University of Economics and Business
ul. Komandorska 118/120, 53-345 Wrocław, Poland

Jolanta Maria Ciak

University WSB Merito in Toruń
ul. Młodzieżowa 31a, 87-100 Toruń, Poland


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How to Cite

Bednarek, P., & Ciak, J. (2024). Performance Audit Effectiveness Indicators: Evidence from Poland. Journal of Public Governance, 61(3), 43–56.