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Title: Social gatekeepers and racial equality strategies in social housing
Author: Tomlins, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 3534 6536
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis theorises processes of change through an examination of formal and informal race equality strategies within a housing association. The literature review evaluates paradigms which seek to explain the differential housing experiences of minority ethnic and white communities. A revised model of structuration theory focusing clearly upon particular features of the housing process, such as the continuing potential of social gatekeepers to shape life chances, is proposed to advance the debate. The review of studies of the housing association movement notes that an implementation gap continues to prevent effective race equality performance despite improvements in paper policies. Whilst Niner argues that associations have had greater freedom from regulatory control than local authorities, the potential to appropriate discretionary opportunities at junior levels of the hierarchy is underplayed within organisational change literature. Primary research based upon participant observation supports the hypothesis that an 'organisational power vacuum' can create an 'opportunity space' for 'change activists' to achieve their own policy objectives without formal organisational support, as well as exercising practitioner discretion. The opportunity space represents the conscious or unconscious withdrawal of hierarchical control from an organisational area. Formal initiatives subsequently introduced at 'Byrds' Housing Association presented more overt opportunities and constraints to change activists. The absence of consistent policy ownership amongst senior gatekeepers, the completion of specialist workplans and the superficial incorporation of equal opportunities within generic work led to a degree of 'static reassertion', a reversion to historic practices and perhaps new barriers to formal and informal change following a period of innovation. Nevertheless the organisational power vacuum paradigm affirms the potential for relatively junior employees to achieve corporate change. As a model for the exploitation of opportunity space it should be criticised, evaluated and amended to provide further tools for understanding and implementing radical equal opportunities change within diverse organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor