Managers are in need of new tools to help them plot strategy and navigate an increasingly complex market where they are perceived to have a wider set of responsibilities and roles than in the past. The key to solving this puzzle lies in the ability to understand the intersection of impact and influence. Previous paradigms tried to draw a hard line where financial control ended and assume that events occurring with entities beyond that line were only of tangential relevance to an organisation’s accountability. That paradigm no longer holds as organisations are penalised for actions by suppliers or other business partners, and even governments in areas where they operate.
The ultimate purpose of developing tools such as reporting and the boundaries thinking outlined in this paper, is to enable better performance management, better decision-making internal and external to an organisation, and ultimately, more sustainable development. Given the complexity of the global economy, and social and environmental problems, the only solutions will come from new modes of thinking that recognise networks, share dilemmas, and seek to identify where and with whom problems can be influenced and how to measure individual contributions towards solutions.