Strategic‐systems auditing (SSA) approaches require auditors to perform analyses of their clients at two levels (i.e., strategic and business‐process levels) when conducting audits (e.g., Bell et al. 2002; Lemon et al. 2000). One advantage of using SSA approaches is that through these analyses, auditors gain a complex systems understanding of the client. This understanding enhances decision making in part by recognizing that small actions can have big effects that increase overall business risk (Jacobson 2001; Richmond 2000). This study examines how the two levels of analysis in SSA impact auditor judgments regarding small changes in a business process that can have big (risk‐increasing) effects. Specifically, we predict that when strategic‐positioning information (contained within the strategic‐level analysis) indicates a client is typical of others in its industry, information at the business‐process level regarding a small problem in a business process will be weighted less than when the strategic‐positioning information indicates the client is atypical. Results support this contention. This behavior may have implications for the effectiveness of SSA approaches under certain conditions.

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