Fostering Sustainability in Local Government: The Institutional Work Perspective on the Accounting–management Nexus

Lotta-Maria Sinervo*, Elina Vikstedt, Mika Luhtala, Harri Laihonen, Olga Trunova

*Corresponding author for this work

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Sustainability is a critical societal aim, and local governments (LGs) play an important role in fostering sustainability, as the implementation of the global aims set by the United Nations—namely, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs offer novel accounting, reporting, and management perspectives for LGs. The objective of the study is to understand the role of the accounting–management nexus which is needed to institutionalize sustainability in LG practices. We adopted an institutional work perspective to investigate how actors at the field, organizational, and suborganizational levels of LGs can foster sustainability in accounting and management. Based on interviews with managers and other representatives from the 18 largest LGs in Finland, we found that although sustainability integration is still in the early stages and there is considerable heterogeneity in LGs’ handling of sustainability issues, there is clear potential for the simultaneous deployment of different institutional work types. This has positive implications for the institutionalization of sustainability accounting and management practices in LGs, enhancing understanding of how sustainability is fostered in public sector accounting and management by focusing on organizational-level institutional work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFinancial Accountability & Management
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 2 June 2024.


  • Accounting
  • Institutional Work
  • Local Governments
  • Management
  • Sustainability

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