HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Management control systems in the smart sustainable city: a focus on smart environment.

Ruysschaert, Benoit ULiège
Promotor(s) : Crutzen, Nathalie ULiège
Date of defense : 23-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021 • Permalink :
Title : Management control systems in the smart sustainable city: a focus on smart environment.
Author : Ruysschaert, Benoit ULiège
Date of defense  : 23-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021
Advisor(s) : Crutzen, Nathalie ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Van Caillie, Didier ULiège
Bleus, Hélène ULiège
Language : English
Keywords : [en] smart
[en] city
[en] control
[en] management
[en] environment
[en] sustainable
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Strategy & innovation
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en ingénieur de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en sustainable performance management
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] As cities are growing, local governments are challenged to guarantee a good quality of life by taking action on climate mitigation and adaptation. Due to increased awareness among citizens, local governments commit to ambitious sustainability objectives. The concept of a smart sustainable city has emerged as an ideal for cities to aim for. It requires management control systems (MCS) to steer stakeholders’ behavior towards these objectives. The effectiveness of a MCS depends on one another, requiring to study MCS as a package and not in isolation as previous research has done. Especially the knowledge on MCS packages adopted by smart cities is very limited, and therefore, this research filled in this gap focusing on the smart environment dimension. The goal was to explore the MCS packages adopted for smart environment projects and how they integrate the concept of sustainability. After analyzing the existing literature, case studies were performed in two Belgian local governments, Liège and Hasselt. Using semi-structured interviews, different stakeholders were asked to identify the adopted MCS. The conceptual framework by Malmi and Brown (2008) was used as a guiding theory. As a result, the different MCS were identified for both cities, classified into the five groups of control systems. Also, the links between control systems and their role in implementing sustainability were identified. Based on these findings, it is concluded that both cities have adopted strong planning and administrative controls for their smart environment projects. Also, the culture helps to align employee’s behavior. The reward & compensation and cybernetic controls were weak, apart from budgeting. These insights allow a better understanding of the adopted MCS package by smart cities. Future research can use these insights to determine the effectiveness of systems based on the full package, facilitating the transition toward a smart sustainable city.



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  • Ruysschaert, Benoit ULiège Université de Liège > Master ingé. gest., à fin.


Committee's member(s)

  • Van Caillie, Didier ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Finance et Droit: Diagnostic et contrôle de l'entreprise
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Bleus, Hélène ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Management : Sustainable Strategy
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
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  • Total number of downloads 245

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