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Customer Orientation and Balancing of Interests

Two time-stamped examples from the Swedish Public Housing Companies the years 2000 and 2020

Time: Mon 2020-12-14 09.00

Location:, Du som saknar dator/datorvana kan kontakta / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance, Stockholm (English), Stockholm (English), Stockholm (Swedish)

Subject area: Business Studies

Doctoral student: Tommy Gerdemark , Fastighetsföretagande och finansiella system, I samarbete med Högskolan i Gävle

Opponent: Professsor Öhman Peter, Mittuniversitetet

Supervisor: Professor Björn Berggren, Fastighetsföretagande och finansiella system

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his thesis contents of two studies, stretching over 20 years. Common to both of the studies are that they study Allmannyttan, Sweden's Public Housing Companies, by two time-stamped examples. The first example, between the years 1998-2000, studied the growing interest for Customer orientation, a concept from the literature of Business Administration, and how it had begun to be used of the managements of the Public housing companies in their internal and external communication. That as a reaction on the changes in the surrounding environment and earlier point of departures in a building- and real estate traditions. That example resulted, the year of 2000, in a licentiate thesis; Customer Orientation - obscurities on the obvious way, (see Appendix). Based on a case study, the report problematized the obstacles and possibilities to apply Customer orientation in Allmannyttan. The nature of the business and shortcomings associated with the customers and the management, were identified as obstacles for applying Customer orientation to the fullest. The next step, and the completion of my doctoral thesis, was to be delayed for 20 years.The second example, between the years 2019-2020, has from a study inspired by Ground Theory and 24 interviews mainly with CEO:s, become to study the phenomenon of "Balancing of Interests". In the report: Balancing of Interests - to lead Public Housing Companies, a substantive theory is presented. It illustrates how the managements in the Allmannyttan, due to the purpose of the business (WHAT), has to balancing a point of departure in business or social benefit and, due to the realization of the purpose (HOW), a point of depaiture in needs or in resources. Laws, owner directives and market conditions constitute the frames for the balancing, which is also depending on the management's own interests and motivations. That impact is considerable, especially in smaller municipalities and when the CEO has been a long time on the position. The CEO' s freedom of action is, among other things, depending on created trust and the level of control in the owners' directives. "Balancing of Interests" is an activity and the correct balance for the moment is in constant move, due to changes in the company and its surroundings and conditions. The correct balance for the moment is the balance that secure the company's short- and long-term survival, but also the management's and the CEO' s continuity on their positions. The CEO' s importance for the chosen pathways of the company is important to have in mind when it comes to recruitments and choices of personalities and backgrounds. Balancing of Interests as a phenomenon can contribute to the understanding of the role of the CEO and be a theory for further analysis of the Allmannyttan' s situation and challenges. In the light of the increased focus on sustainability in society, the theory of Balancing of Interests has potential also to contribute with insights in the increasing number of compromise- and decision-making processes, where long-term common interests are set against short-term individual ones. A lock back to the first example shows that Customer Orientation, as a word, nowadays is being used sparingly. However, the ideas behind are spread and a point of departure in the customer seem to be natural. From a theoretical point of view the Customer orientation of today is more mature and developed, far away from cliches as "the customer has always right". The economy sets limits for what is possible to offer and the perspective is sufficient customer customization. When it comes to the obstacles identified in the licentiate thesis, they naturally seem to remain to a high extent regarding the nature of business, but are significantly less regarding both the customers and the managements.