Performance measurement in smart city governance: A case study of an Egyptian city council

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: This study seeks to explore the powerful role(s) of institutionalised performance measurement systems or metrics in smart city governance in a politically and militarily sensitive developing country. Design/methodology/approach: This study extends the application and contribution of a multi-level institutional framework to previous management accounting literature on the potential relationship between performance measurement and smart city governance. The value of utilising a multi-level framework is to broaden and deepen theoretical analyses about this relationship to include the effect of political pressure from the military regime at the macro level on the institutionalisation of a performance measurement system at the micro-organisational level. Taking the New Cairo city council smart electricity networks project (Egypt) as an interpretive qualitative single-case study, data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, direct observations and documentary readings. Findings: Performance measurement systems or metrics, especially in politically and militarily sensitive smart cities, constitutes a process of cascading (macro-micro) institutionalisation that is closely linked to sustainable developments taking place in the wider arena of urban policies. Going a step further, accounting-based performance metrics, arising from political and military pressures towards public-private collaborations, contribute to smart city management and accountability (governance). Institutionalised measurement systems or performance metrics play a powerful accounting role(s) in shaping and reshaping political decisions and military actions in the city council. Originality/value: Theoretically, this study goes beyond the cascading institutionalisation process by arguing for the powerful role(s) of institutionalised accounting and performance measurement systems in smart city decision-making and governance. Empirically, it enriches previous literature with a case study of a developing Arab Spring country, characterised by an emerging economy, political sensitivity and military engagement, rather than developed and more stable countries that have been thoroughly investigated. It is also among the first politically engaged accounting case studies to highlight public-private collaborations as a recent reform in public sector governance and accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-430
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Accounting in Emerging Economies
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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  • Military engagement
  • New Cairo city council
  • Performance measurement
  • Political sensitivity
  • Public-private collaboration
  • Smart city governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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