Exploring the survival strategies of small Social Housing Providers (SHPs) in a competitive age from a Critical Realist (CR) perspective

Taylor, Simon Peter and Peck, Frank and Chapman, Ian and Hurford, Grace (2019) Exploring the survival strategies of small Social Housing Providers (SHPs) in a competitive age from a Critical Realist (CR) perspective. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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SHPs in Britain in the 21st century perform a dual role. As businesses, they are expected to be commercially aware as well as run efficiently, and in their role as landlords, they are expected to provide housing for a social purpose. They are organisations that operate within a competitive environment and have to balance the conflict between market forces and addressing a social need. This study seeks to explore how they manage to do this by developing an understanding of the strategic responses that they put in place to help them survive in a competitive environment. The research focused on small SHPs operating in rural areas. Using a Mixed Methods Research (MMR) design, the analysis was carried out employing the qualitative method of semi-structured interviews and case study predominantly. Interviews were carried out with practitioners mainly from Social Housing but also health, social care, local government, and the third sector. The philosophical approach of Critical Realism (CR) and a typology of strategic responses (partnership, innovation, hybridity, and service strategy) were drawn upon to analyse the research data. CR helped to assess the contextual conditions applicable to individual SHPs through a stratified ontology. The research highlighted the importance of place and locality as a connection between the SHP and the local community. The specific conditions within a locality that impact upon a SHP will influence the nature of the strategic response that they adopt. The strategic responses that had been adopted by the SHPs varied included combinations from the typology. Partnership was highlighted in one case as an approach by one SHP to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals. The strategic responses of SHPs may need to be reviewed over time as contextual conditions change.

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03 Feb 2020 10:10
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16 Mar 2024 00:04