The licentiate thesis consists of three papers with the particular topic in public housing. They discuss how the public housing companies manage the transition to higher economic demands meeting increased customer and market requirements. These studies focus specifically on how the public housing company deal with market challenges associated with the decision to demolish, maintain and/or new construction. Market-oriented perspective can be a tool for the public housing companies to achieve better customer value and enhance economic development. Although the market orientation concept has contributed to valuable improvements in research, the thesis assumes that it is necessary to distinguish between that the public housing companies operate market-oriented to meet customer requirements and their focus on innovation.
Paper I develops market/innovation types and then investigates how public housing companies adapt to these types. It was found that economic conditions in the municipality have a major impact on the housing companies, causing them to act innovatively and create superior customer value by innovations. The study confirms that the implementation of market and innovation orientation contributes to competitive advantages in growing markets, while weak economic conditions impair implementation in declining markets.
Paper II addresses how public housing companies in declining markets act based on the concept of market intelligence. This study suggested and tested whether there is a positive link between collecting customer information, disseminating it in the organization, and responding to customer needs, and whether this link has an impact on strategic performance. The result shows that weak links exist in the process; the efficiency of intelligence distribution in public housing companies is affected mainly by their responsiveness to customer needs.
Paper III also addresses the public housing companies’ market strategies in declining markets. This study, based on a market-strategic perspective, compares how public housing companies act in relation to customer wants compared to the private housing market. The result shows that public housing companies are more engaged in carrying out new construction, renovation, and reconstruction, as well as taking more social responsibility compared to the private sector. In particular, their concern for the customers’ social needs is evident.