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18 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Understanding decision
-
making in the housing
association sector: the case
of asset management

Francesca Albanese

CRESR

Sheffield Hallam University

Presentation outline


Research aims and objectives


The housing association sector in England


Analysing decision
-
making


Modelling decision
-
making


Foucault, Clegg and relational power


Case studies


Research findings


Conclusions

Research aims and objectives


The study aims to investigate the decision
-
making behaviour of
housing associations in low demand areas



Using the context of asset management it explores:

1.
How useful are decision
-
making models in explaining decision
-
making
behaviour within housing associations?

2.
To what extent can Foucault and Clegg’s relational notion of power
be used as a tool to help understand the empirical processes of
power involved in decision
-
making?

3.
How is knowledge and information used by housing associations
within the decision
-
making process?

4.
To what extent are housing associations becoming ‘learning
organisations’ in their approach to asset management?


The Housing Association Sector in
England


Just under 1,700 HA in England (67% 6
-
1000 units)



Significant growth post 1974 but also greater exposure to risk
(four fold increase since 1979)



HA taken on more ‘residual’ and ‘difficult
-
to
-
let’ stock with
greater risks



Low demand issue in North and Midlands



Increased competition for tenants across tenures



Tension between social objectives vs. financial viability



Need to assess their stock investment strategies


Asset Management


Formal Asset management planning in England only appeared
around 2000 (DETR 2000; Housing Corporation 2002)


Definition of asset management:



“the understanding and management of any existing or potential
risk to those assets. Its is also about considering what will
maintain or enhance the value of an asset by considering what
work or investment in the housing stock is worthwhile”

(Tait 2003: 5)



Assets meaning land and property but also rental income



Other work
-

Top
-
down, use of secondary sources (policy,
strategy and regulation documents)



Little attention to low demand areas



Modelling decision
-
making


Theoretical gap in research which applies decision
-
making to public sector



Political
-
bureaucratic model (Pettigrew 1973)



Considers concept of power in relation to decision
-
making


Political dimension of decision
-
making



Behaviourist model (Cyert and March 1963)



Examines knowledge stocks and streams in decision
-
making processes


Foucauldian Notion of Power


Focus upon Foucault’s and Clegg’s notion of power


Study analysed power in a social setting



Staff roles and networks, organisational structures



Foucault’s work:


Looks at the way power functions within the everyday relations
between people and institutions


Power is multi
-
directional


Questions
‘how power is exercised?’

rather than
‘what is
power?’


Power cannot be possessed



Inter
-
relationship of
power/knowledge



Clegg and Relational Power


Clegg aligns himself more closely with Machiavellian
concept of power rather than Hobbesian view and the
three dimensions of power


Looks at what power
does

rather than what power
is


Understands power to be ‘relational’


Analogy of power is centred on
‘the rules of the game’



The process of power is looking at the way ‘the game is
played’
-

skills and strategies of the different actors


Shifts in power are dependent upon actors involved, their
alliances and the relationships that are formed


Clegg’s Framework of Power

Simplified Version of Clegg’s Framework of Power

(Adapted from Clegg; 1989: 214)








Case Studies


3 Case studies


1 national, 2 regional HA



Chosen to show variation in approaches to AM

1.
Magenta Housing Trust
-

Large regional HA ≈ 10,000
units

2.
Cyan Housing Association


Smaller regional HA ≈
6,000 units

3.
Ochre Housing Group


National HA ≈ 55,000 units




Qualitative methodology


semi
-
structured
interviews and focus groups


Internal Circuits of Power


Strategic decision
-
making


Top
-
down approach in all 3 HA


Issue of non
-
decision
-
making


Operational decision
-
making


Economic



Significant weighting to decision
-
making and top
-
down approach


Social


Exertion of power from bottom up but low priority


Anecdotal rather than qualitative variables in data sets


Political


Power exerted external


policy and regulation


Large impact of HMRF and Decent Homes Standard



Cross
-
cutting decisions


Reliant upon other organisations


Decisions not clear cut and choices have future strategic value



“Primarily at the end of the day what I see is it’s
up to the Finance Director, if he says yes fine,
if he says no forget it.”



(Housing Services Manager, Cyan)


“You can’t under estimate local knowledge, you
can computerise until you’re blue in the face
and that’s what I like because that’s my job.
But I do understand that compared to local
knowledge that’s leaps ahead when it’s
capturing it and using it.”




(Stock Investment Manager, Ochre)

Playing the internal decision
-
making game


Each case study had a set of rules by which they ‘played’ the asset
management game



Tactics are used by HA staff



Channelled through set of ‘obligatory passage points’:

1.
Information

2.
Understanding of asset management

3.
Intra
-
organisational conflict



New exertion of power (resistance) disturbs ‘field of force’ and re
-
fixes routes
of power changing the ‘rules of the game’




Battles are fought over decisions and the power circuits will continually
change:


New staff


Transforming organisational culture


Available funding streams


Governance structures






Conclusions


How useful are decision
-
making models in explaining decision
-
making behaviour within housing associations?


Rigid framework


use concepts of power and knowledge instead


Suggests that all levels and types of DM are underpinned by power



To what extent can Foucault and Clegg’s relational notion of power
be used as a tool to help understand the empirical processes of
power involved in decision
-
making?


Power complex and elusive


challenge for empirical investigation


Relational based framework enables power to be traced by examining
activities and processes


Found evidence of resistance


Clegg’s framework highlights power is continually shifting


However ‘multi
-
directional’ doesn’t translate to top down approach








Decision
-
making under different market
conditions or different area of HA policy


Consider gender, BME issues


Role of tenant empowerment in decision
-
making techniques






Scope for future work: