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Selling the family silver? Institutional entrepreneurship and asset disposal in the English housing association sector

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jats:p The purpose of this paper is to shed light on English housing associations’ asset management strategies through an analysis of strategic decisions to either dispose of or retain valuable property assets. Drawing on the concept of institutional logics and the use of organisational archetypes, the paper identifies contrasting strategies that London-based housing associations have adopted in response to contemporary challenges. The first, classified as ‘defender’ organisations, represent those who choose to generally retain their stock to leverage finance for future house building and who, in principle, would not countenance property sales. Second, are organisations described as ‘analysers’ who offer pragmatic justifications for the disposal of properties, primarily on economic grounds, arguing that properties are no longer fit for purpose, with proceeds used for replacement stock. The last category represents those depicted as ‘prospectors’ who willingly dispose of their high-valued assets to generate stronger income streams and reposition themselves as institutional entrepreneurs within the housing sector. The paper argues that the strategic decisions taken by these ‘prospector’ housing associations have shaped an agenda, founded on institutional entrepreneurship, to which other organisations are forced to respond. In wider terms, the cumulative effects of selling valuable assets carry the risk of not only undermining core social principles but also potentially exacerbating socio-spatial segregation across the London area. </jats:p>



asset disposal, asset management strategies, asset retention, housing associations, property sales

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Urban Studies

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SAGE Publications