Title: Microfinance in the South - from money processing to community building

Authors: Muhammad Adeel; Bernhard Nett; Volker Wulf

Addresses: Information Systems and New Media Faculty III, University of Siegen, Hoelderlinstr 3, 57076, Siegen, Germany ' Information Systems and New Media Faculty III, University of Siegen, Hoelderlinstr 3, 57076, Siegen, Germany ' Information Systems and New Media Faculty III, University of Siegen, Hoelderlinstr 3, 57076, Siegen, Germany

Abstract: This paper compares the results of two ethnographic studies on microfinance institutions (MFIs) of the South, the Grameen Bank (GB), Bangladesh, and the Khushhali Bank (KB), Pakistan. Information and communication technology (ICT) is considered to play a major supportive role for innovation in both MFIs which, nevertheless, approach them very differently. When discussing with KB management, GB was often mentioned as a best-practice example. Nevertheless, GB's focus on the field level is not followed in innovation strategies. Restricting 'microfinance technology' to the automation of payment-data management falls behind GB's understanding of microfinance as an ongoing recombination of financial, educational, community-building and empowering activities. The paper contributes to a better understanding of the specifics of work practices in MFI in developing countries - a domain which has not yet been thoroughly studied. The comparative analysis additionally reveals the impact of customer relationships on cooperative work and technological needs within banking organisations.

Keywords: microfinance institutions; MFIs; innovation; community building; learning; ICT; participatory design; ethnography; Bangladesh; Pakistan; information and communications technology; information technology; work practices; developing countries; customer relationships; cooperative work; technological needs; banking.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2013.054200

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2013 Vol.19 No.1/2/3, pp.81 - 98

Received: 01 Jul 2012
Accepted: 13 Mar 2013

Published online: 29 May 2013 *

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