Accounting and structural reforms: a case study of Egyptian electricity

Alawattage, C. and Alsaid, L. A. (2018) Accounting and structural reforms: a case study of Egyptian electricity. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 50, pp. 15-35. (doi: 10.1016/

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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.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Public sector, new public management, institutional theory, hHistorical institutionalism, Egypt.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Alawattage, Professor Chandana
Authors: Alawattage, C., and Alsaid, L. A.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Research Group:Accounting
Journal Name:Critical Perspectives on Accounting
Journal Abbr.:CPA
ISSN (Online):1095-9955
Published Online:23 September 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Critical Perspectives on Accounting 50: 15-35
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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