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Housing associations diversifying into market renting: local contexts and (re)interpretation shaping strategic decision making

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Within the context of housing associations as fluid third sector hybrid organisations, this article examines the dynamics of strategic decision making in relation to diversification into the market rented sector. A convergence of factors shaped an agenda for associations to engage with such commercial activity, crystallising debates about opportunities versus tensions and the remit of organisations. Qualitative research with senior housing association professionals operating in northern England illustrates the significance of external local and internal organisational contexts in making and justifying decisions; this is highlighted within an emergent typology of organisational responses. Depending on interpretation, the interplay between social and financial justifications varied, including legitimising activity within a broader social purpose. The potential for (re)interpreting parameters illustrates the importance of understanding the variety and complexity of interacting dynamics that influence the strategic decisions of third sector hybrid organisations and what they deliver at the local level.
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Keywords: diversification; housing association; hybridity; local contexts; market renting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Northumbria University, UK

Publication date: March 2020

This article was made available online on February 5, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Housing associations diversifying into market renting: local contexts and (re)interpretation shaping strategic decision making".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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