Smart city dynamics and multi-level management accounting: unfolding a case of sustainable enterprise resource planning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study aims to explore the complex, multi-level institutional dynamics of smart city reforms and projects and their potential sustainability pressures on the implementation of a management accounting system in an Egyptian state-owned enterprise (SOE), which has a politically sensitive institutional character. Design/methodology/approach: This study adds to institutional management accounting research using a multi-level perspective of institutional dynamics in the smart city context. Data were collected from an interpretive case study of an Egyptian SOE that was under socio-political sustainability pressures to implement a smart electricity network project in New Minya city. Findings: Smart city projects have formed social and political sustainability pressures, which introduced the enterprise resource planning (ERP) network as a new management accounting system. A new (complex and multi-level) management accounting system was invented to reinvent the sustainable city as an “accounting city” (which appeared rhetorically as a “smart city”). “Smart” being the visibility and measurability of the sustainability performance of the collective body, which calls the city and its connectivity to different institutional levels brought out in a city network project for the ERP-enabled electricity distribution. Research limitations/implications: This study examines a single case study from a single smart city and identifies the accounting community’s need for multiple and comparative case studies to further analyse the potential impact of smart city reforms and projects on the sustainable implementation of management accounting systems. Practical implications: City policymakers and managers may benefit from the practical findings of this interpretive field-based case study in planning, implementing and monitoring smart city projects and objectives. Social implications: Individual and collective well-being may be enhanced through new management accounting forms of multi-level local governance and increased political, field and organisational sustainability. Originality/value: This study provides important insights into the sustainability dynamics of management accounting in achieving smart city reforms. The achievement of sustainability management accounting systems has connected to multiple ERP roles at different institutional levels, which resulted in accommodating the socio-political objectives of smart city projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-54
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
Issue number1
Early online date28 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


The UK’s Open University, FBL seed-corn funding, budget code LR201601QRQ08.


  • Smart city dynamics
  • Multi-level management accounting
  • Sustainable enterprise resource planning
  • Institutional sustainability pressures
  • State-owned enterprises
  • Egypt
  • M41
  • M48
  • O2
  • O33
  • O55
  • R5


Dive into the research topics of 'Smart city dynamics and multi-level management accounting: unfolding a case of sustainable enterprise resource planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this