Unintended consequences in implementing public sector accounting reforms in emerging economies: evidence from Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Pawan Adhikari, Chamara Kuruppu, Hassan Ouda, Giuseppe Grossi, Dayananda Ambalangodage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigates the implementation of public sector accounting reforms in Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Data for the article are derived through document analysis and semi-structured interviews with public administrators, government accountants and members of professional accountancy bodies. The article brings out the factors that have either individually or collectively stifled the diffusion trajectory of public sector accounting reforms in Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka at the implementation phase, including the bundling process, pro-innovation biases, informal and interpersonal networks, a boundary-spanning process, organisational communication, power disparity, and dominance. As a result, public sector accounting reforms have resulted in resistance, internal conflicts and unintended consequences, including the fabrication of results, in all three countries without any evidence of yielding better results for public sector governance and accountability. Points for practitioners Public sector accounting practitioners should realise the importance of considering the specific contexts of emerging economies, including the power structures, communication channels, informal networks and communication flows, prior to the diffusion of reforms. When such contextual elements are de-emphasised, reforms would tend to encounter delay and resistance, ongoing reforms in Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka serving as examples. Also, instead of delegating power to professional accountants and expert groups, they can be employed as boundary spanners to facilitate communication with government accountants about the technical complexities of public sector accounting reforms. This may help establish an efficient communication network and strengthen interpersonal and informal networks, enabling reforms to pass through the diffusion trajectory without being stifled at the implementation phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-887
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Volume87
Issue number4
Early online date2019-Oct-02
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021-Dec

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Economics and Business (502)

Keywords

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards
  • accrual accounting
  • diffusion
  • emerging economies
  • public sector

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