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PBA®  for Hard Controls

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Hard control weaknesses are often caused by soft control weaknesses


Internal auditors are experts in hard control evaluations.


Hard control evaluations typically use binary logic, resulting in right - wrong results (such done - not done, signed - not signed, and compliant - non-compliant). This type of evaluation results give us the pleasant feeling to have everything under control, helping us to handle our fear of the complexity of the VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) and of giving false positive assurance. 

There are different challenges associated with hard control evaluations:

  1. Focusing solely on hard controls may result in missing the point from an overall risk perspective.

  2. Hard control weaknesses are often caused by soft control weaknesses, as illustrated by our PBA® case studies.

  3. Actually, hard control evaluations are not as objective as internal auditors would like them to be. Hard control evaluations include a great deal of subjectivity as well, starting with the question "from the multitude of possible hard controls: which ones do we want to evaluate?"


"And yet, despite regulations, supervisory focus, and firms' own efforts, misconduct risk persists." Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Misconduct, Risk, and Supervision, December 2017



Hard control evaluations call for hard control evaluation methodologies, complemented by PBA® to better understand the subjectivity involved and to increase evaluation speed and effectiveness. PBA® takes hard control evaluations to new levels, adding an ongoing function analytical meta level to all evaluations. 


  • Provides function analytical background information regarding the hard control, such as the function mode of the personality systems involved. 

  • Provides information about the possibilities and limitations of hard control evaluations

  • Allows a quick change to the PBA® soft control evaluation mode, if deemed necessary

  • Identifies "false friends", i.e. controls that appear to be hard controls, but that are actually the result of personality system connections.

More about the PBA® methodology.​​​

More about the PBA® characteristics.​​​

More about personality systems.

PBA® is a new 360° degree testing & thinking grid to evaluate human factors - across the organization