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Risk, resilience and effectiveness in the non-profit sector: the case of housing associations

Kenneth Gibb (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Desmond McNulty (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 25 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine emergent risk and resilience strategies being adopted by non-profit housing associations faced with uncertainties as a result of public funding austerity and the implications of welfare reform.


The study draws on an evidence review of the impacts of welfare reform on social housing conducted for the Scottish Government and on analysis of annual reports, circulars and other grey literature, including risk registers produced by a range of housing providers in Scotland.


In some associations, exposure to new risks is generating fresh thinking about effectiveness and performance measurement, and is also stimulating the development of new strategies and activities aimed at creating a more resilient business model.

Practical implications

Managers of non-profit housing providers need to focus on both risk and resilience if they are to successfully combine conventional business accountability with their obligations to tenants and the local communities their organisations serve.

Social implications

Housing associations are a key gatekeeper protecting and supporting vulnerable tenants and disadvantaged communities from the impacts of austerity and welfare reform. It is essential that as organisations they effectively manage risk and develop resilient principles that allow them to continue as ongoing concerns into the long term.


The paper asks challenging questions about the link between the purpose or mission of an organisation and its conceptualisation of risk, arguing that resilience is a vital consideration alongside risk for non-profit organisations with a social mission.



Gibb, K. and McNulty, D. (2014), "Risk, resilience and effectiveness in the non-profit sector: the case of housing associations", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 349-364.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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