Vermeire, Jacob; Lepoutre, Jan; Meuleman, Miguel (Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017)
Poverty is one of the greatest challenges of our times and microfinance organizations try to help reduce poverty by providing microloans for enterprise development. However, recent studies have demonstrated that the positive impact of microloans on the lives of the poor is generally very limited. In this light, understanding why and how individuals use microloans is an important component of making microlending more effective. In this empirical study, we employ an inductive multiple-case study design to develop an understanding of microloan use among 7 female firm founders in rural South Africa. We found patterned differences in the salience of the firm founders' social identity, the construction of an option set of possible uses for the microloan, and finally the dominant loan utilisation. Our inductive model provides an important extension to the microfinance literature and the emerging stream of theorizing around founder social identities.
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