Sustainability accounting in public sector organizational change processes

Patricia Anne McNicholas, Fadzlina Mohd Fahmi, Carol Adams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review


The purpose of this study is to examine in detail how local councils in Malaysia engaged with sustainability practices and the role of sustainability accounting in organizational change processes in the context of this developing nation. The study employed a multiple case study approach in five Malaysian local councils, following the mandatory adoption of a sustainability accounting and reporting system. The case study approach was informed by Laughlin’s (1991b) model and Lewin’s (1947) 3-Step model of change. We found that the enforcement of a new government sustainability accounting and reporting system led to change in all five case studies, with a progressive level of change in two of the case organizations. Specifically, the study found that the new reporting system was used to inform decisions concerning action plans to improve sustainability performance. The study demonstrates the potential performance benefits of integrating sustainability accounting into the organizational performance measurement system in local councils (and the public sector context in general). MURNINet, as a unique mandatory reporting system, is used to improve performance through integration into the organizations’ planning and the decision-making process, thereby putting Malaysia ahead of other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Accounting Association
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAnnual Congress of the European Accounting Association 2016 - Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 11 May 201613 May 2016
Conference number: 39th


ConferenceAnnual Congress of the European Accounting Association 2016
Abbreviated titleEAA 2016
Internet address

Cite this