Latest Seminars

Staying true to purpose: Performance implications of microfinance conversion

An increasing number of organizations attempt to address societal problems through commercial means. While some scholars suggest that commercialization (i.e., increasing exposure to commercial opportunities and pressures) can increase these organizations’ opportunities for growth and thus their economic productivity, others raise concerns about how such pressures might encourage compromises to the organizations’ original social commitments. Drawing from organizational identity and resource dependence literatures, we develop and test a theoretical model of organizational identity resilience amidst commercialization, hypothesizing the mechanisms and conditions by which organizations retain their original identity-based commitments despite increased commercial pressure. We test these hypotheses using a proprietary database of 143 conversion cases out of 723 microfinance organizations (MFOs) originally founded as NGOs. Our findings ultimately challenge the assumption that social and financial commitments operate synergistically yet also suggest conditions that allow organizations to sustain the precarious balance between those commitments. Taken together these findings also extend organization theory more broadly, bridging longstanding research on organizational identity and resource dependence while providing insight into ongoing theoretical debates about the elasticity of organizational identities.


Speaker :
Prof. Eric Zhao, Indiana University
Venue :
LSK Rm5047 (Lift 1-2)
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