The governance of housing association diversification in Northern Ireland: managing interdependent social and commercial logics

Shanks, Peter (2022). The governance of housing association diversification in Northern Ireland: managing interdependent social and commercial logics. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Housing associations (HAs) are hybrid bodies located between the state, market and community sectors. These divergent influences often give rise to contested notions of identity and purpose as HAs pursue social and commercial goals. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the drivers of HA change, focusing specifically on diversification into private housing markets. It developed the literature on hybridity and institutional logics in two distinctive ways. First, it focused on the Northern Ireland HA sector and second, it studied change through a corporate governance lens, both of which remain under-researched. The study adopted a four-stage grounded methodology to capture data at the sectoral and organisational levels, including observations of board and committee meetings in Northern Ireland’s two largest HAs, using Critical Incident Technique methodology. The thesis conceptualised the tensions that confronted the two HAs as they diversified into private housing markets and also the approaches they adopted to simultaneously manage social and commercial logics. Many studies of HA hybridity have reported evidence of logic succession, whereby market influences displace social purpose goals whenever HAs enact private market norms and values. In contrast, this study drew on the concepts of hybridity, paradox and institutional logics to construct a new ‘paradox model of organisational hybridity’, which reframed the debate on social and commercial goals, from one of logic dominance and succession to one of logic interdependency and management.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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