Integrated Thinking

Cristiano Busco, Fabrizio Granà, Paolo Quattrone

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


Key assumptions and findings

• Contemporary organizations operate in a complex world, characterized by a multitude of internal and external drivers, interdependencies and trade-offs that influence the process of decision making, the promises that these decisions entail, and the expectations of a variety of demanding stakeholders. Organization leaders are increasingly required to navigate through these challenges by implementing a comprehensive approach to planning,measurement, and reporting.

• Integrated Thinking is about connecting performance with purpose. It involves identifying,executing, and monitoring business decisions and strategies for long-term value creation.Integrated Thinking builds on the need to reconcile competitiveness and sustainable growth within the context of inclusive business models in order to take advantage of the opportunities and face the challenges of the market.

• Nowadays most organizations strive to balance competitiveness and sustainable growth by implementing programs and initiatives of sustainability intending to achieve specific targets in terms of governance, social, and environmental impact. But a mishmash of sustainability tactics does not guarantee the achievement of sustainable performance(s), which instead requires an integrated approach to the planning, management and reporting, that must take into consideration how the interests and the contributions of a series of heterogeneous stakeholders are linked in to the models for long-term value creation.

• Within this context, management accounting offers tools and engagement platforms that are able to go beyond the mere representation of the initiatives of sustainability through a set of ad hoc targets and key performance indicators,to include processes of mediation among the different stakeholders who are involved. In this space, management accountants and finance experts in general, lead the search for sustainable performance by suggesting pragmatic solutions that are able to monitor and communicate ways in which such an inclusive business purpose may be converted into added value for a multitude of stakeholders.

• The Finance team takes the centre stage in organizations, acting as both architects and orchestrators of an integrated process of thinking,measuring and reporting that mediates among multiple concerns, facilitates conversations,and fosters the generation of innovative solutions within contexts that are characterized by multiple backgrounds and points of view.

• We have identified ten key recommendations to be considered by finance experts, management accountants, and by all other organization leaders who intend to design and manage effective processes of Integrated Thinking (and Reporting) – see Appendix A. The empirical evidence gathered in this research report has been derived from longitudinal case studies, as well as from conversations and interviews with pioneers of integrated thinking who consider it to be an inclusive approach to planning,measurement, and reporting - see Appendix B.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherChartered Institute of Management Accountants
ISBN (Print)978-1-85971-848-3.
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameCIMA Research Executive Summary

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