Are housing organisations learning organisations? Some lessons from the management of tenant participation

REID, B. and HICKMAN, P. (2002). Are housing organisations learning organisations? Some lessons from the management of tenant participation. Housing studies, 17 (6), 895-918.

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This paper deals with the links between organisational development in social housing organisations and tenant participation, and asks whether social housing organisations through such practices can be said to be adopting some of the features of ‘learning organisations’. It discusses the ways in which tenant participation arrangements, in addition to providing opportunities for tenants to influence organisational decision making, potentially serve as de facto conduits for organisational learning, prompting organisational adaptation and change. The idea of the ‘learning organisation’ has its roots in organisational theory and practice. It has also been used normatively in management consultancy, and it is a discernible part of the managerial culture associated with the present government’s Modernisation programme. The paper has three interrelated aims. First, it looks at the scope of the ‘learning organisation’ notion. This is broadly concerned with organisational commitment to on-going development, and focuses on responsiveness, flexibility and capacity to adapt internally to external demands and pressures. Second, it considers the role that these ‘learning organisation’ principles play in the process of organisational change as this is experienced by today’s social housing organisations. Third, it applies learning organisation concepts and draws on recent research to examine an aspect of social housing practice which acts as a key interface between social housing organisations and their service users, the management of tenant participation in an operational context, and discusses the extent to which such mechanisms might act as a conduit for the development of organisational learning. The paper concludes by reflecting first, on the potential of such conduits to encourage social housing organisations to become more like ‘learning organisations’; and second, on the value of the learning organisation notion as a tool for understanding organisational development and change in social housing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: organisational learning, tenant participation, organisational development
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 895-918
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:31

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