Accounting and structural reforms: A case study of Egyptian electricity

Chandana Alawattage, Loai Alsaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


This paper theorizes accounting’s role in realizing the state’s political ambitions. It triangulates Dillard et al.’s (2004) institutional theory framework with historical institutionalism in order to trace the institutional layers and political processes that connect micro-organizational changes with ideological transformations within the political state. Data comes from an ‘extended case study’ comprising a three-month fieldwork into an Egyptian electricity company’s cost management practices and an extensive review of secondary materials on Egypt’s electricity-sector reforms. Empirical findings provide insights into the ways in which accounting plays a political role in institutionalizing structural reforms and how that role evolves with the political ideologies of the state. Accounting’s political role during the colonial regime was speculation of commercial and scientific gains, while it was signification of centralized political power during the postcolonial military regime. Accounting’s role during the neoliberal regime was paradoxical – simultaneously a reformation technology and a deficient institutional apparatus that hindered privatization. Accounting takes political meanings when it institutionalizes the state’s reformative ideologies. Accounting makes the connections between the macro-political and micro-organizational.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-35
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date23 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Public sector
  • New public management
  • Institutional theory
  • Historical institutionalism
  • Egypt


Dive into the research topics of 'Accounting and structural reforms: A case study of Egyptian electricity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this