EDITORIAL

JOURNAL OF A SOCIAL AUDITOR

A road to auditing excellence

Journal of a social auditor reveals my thoughts on the auditing profession after five years on the road and over two hundred days of international experience. In this book, corporate social responsibility, ethical and ISO 9001 auditors will find tools to face any situation.

I received ample technical training to be able to practice: yet few included social skills indispensable to become successful. Journal of a social auditor addresses these invaluable ‘implicit’ core values.

Social responsibility and ethics have progressively shifted the corporate focus on human capital. Important changes took place in the last decade, modifying employment conditions. Auditors adjusted by mastering demanding technical situations with little or no attention to delicate human situations.

Journal of a social auditor is a tale of experiences throughout western Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean. My implicit knowledge about human behavior was acquired on the road. Real-life examples show that understanding behavior goes beyond reading its definition: it requires practice.

Journal of a social auditor provides the guidance to reflect on one’s behavior and understand the behavior of others. Tools and skills are shared to deal with different personalities and face difficult human situations.

Journal of a social auditor shows how social skills nurture personal and professional wellbeing.

If you want to read an extract from the book, here is an extract of a chapter revealing how social skills impact us all.

About the author

Marie-Noëlle Crabbé

Marie-Noëlle Crabbé has a business major and held various management positions before graduating from Harvard University with a master’s in educational psychology. She practiced as a family therapist and specialized in conflict resolution, assisting corporate and humanitarian professional teams.

Marie-Noëlle became ISO 9001 and corporate social responsibility lead auditor in 2014 and recently received an ethics certification. Hundreds of audit days carried out internationally provided her with ample ground to analyze human behavior.

Marie-Noëlle lived and worked in Latin America, France and the United States before settling in Spain where she founded Imago International: www.imago-int.eu. She is the mother of three young men, an avid traveler and photographer. Several of her photographs are included in her book: Journal of a social auditor.

Contact: info@imago-int.eu

Know more about this publication

Journal of a social auditor provides the reader with human and social skills seldom mentioned in the technical literature. There is far more to the profession of auditors than mere numbers. To begin with the etymology, the word auditor comes from the Latin word audire, meaning to listen, an auditor’s key skill rarely referred to in textbooks.


It is challenging to ascertain the number of ISO 9001 and corporate social responsibility certified auditors, as no publication reveals this data. An assessment at the number of auditors estimates there are about 35,000 ISO 9001 and 5,000 CSR certified auditors around the world (source: 2020 senior auditing industry management). Throughout this work, ISO 9001 and CSR audits are referred to because they are my specialty and where I can speak from personal experience, although the advice herein applies to any auditor with specialized technical skills.


There has been an increased interest for ethical values and companies are now implementing ethics codes and codes of conduct, requiring their suppliers to respect them as well. Certifications such as BRCGS Global Standard for Ethical Trade & Responsible Sourcing are forcing employers to be considerate with their workforce now that social responsibility has made the employee a top priority.

Early 2020, for the first time in over a century, the world progressively experienced a pandemic. Entire countries became paralyzed by the coronavirus and went into lockdown. In Spain, where I reside, all audits were cancelled as the country closed its borders for fifteen weeks. Finally, given the time to go through notes and documents, I decided to write the book I myself looked for when I became an auditor, and never found.


Journal of a social auditor is a narrative of personal experiences over five years with examples spanning a range of industries. It is a compilation of lessons learned over hundreds of audit-days in the Americas and Western Europe. Each experience comes within a cultural context where a different language and set of work habits influence people’s perception of situations. Verbal and non-verbal communication, cultural traditions and customs vary by country, and an auditor must adjust accordingly in order to do effective work. I have gained cross-cultural experience and knowledge during my life by listening, observing, asking questions, and doing research on local traditions.

Anyone interested in the life of a traveling auditor or more specifically wishing to become an ISO, Ethics or CSR auditor is invited to read about this world in Journal of a social auditor. The reader may also be the auditor leaving family and home to spend days on the road; colleagues supporting them from the home office, planning and overseeing their work from afar; and the company or organization managers and supervisors who face audits in the context of their work.

Throughout this book, I reference a broad range of businesses that I visited, from slaughterhouses to food manufacturing plants, pharmaceutical and chemical plants, glass and plastic manufacturing facilities, French haute-couture fashion houses or human resources agencies. These companies employed anywhere from 20 to 4,500 workers and are just a few examples of the vast assortment of businesses an auditor may come across.


The privacy of companies and employees referenced in this work are protected. Their identity is not relevant: the interest stems from the situations emerging during audits and how my involvement as an auditor offers a look at industries that are otherwise out of the public eye.

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