Norms and Values of the Various Microfinance Institutions
This article studies the role of norms and values in the microfinance sector. Microfinance projects implemented in India use a wide range of different organizational structures. A classification of the sector is proposed, mapping the institutions along two axes: the profit motive (profit vs. not-for-profit) and the decision making style (centralized vs. un-centralized). Some Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) base their interactions on rigid norms or rules; while others are based on values. We argue that the private sector will tend to produce the operating rules of the microfinance system while the not-for-profit institutions that are using an inclusive decision-making process are more likely to influence the ethical norms in the sector. Nevertheless, this classification is not static as recent events in South-India shows that norms, such as the interest rates, can be politically and emotionally invested to the point that they are about to become values in the sector.
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