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Do Social Enterprises Walk the Talk? Assessing Microfinance Performances with Mission Statements

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  • Roy Mersland
  • Samuel Anokye Nyarko
  • Ariane Szafarz

Abstract

We study mission drift in social enterprises by examining whether these organizations stick to the actual mission enshrined in their mission statements. We use data from microfinance organizations (MFOs), a homogeneous group of social enterprises which have been scrutinized—and sometimes criticized—for mission drift. We focus on three publicly recognized and non-mutually-exclusive microfinance social missions identified by previous studies: poverty alleviation, women's empowerment, and rural financial inclusion. Based on hand-collected data from 199 MFOs worldwide, our results suggest strong coherence between social missions and actual practices. Hence, we argue that, with respect to MFOs’ own stated social missions, mission drift is no serious concern. The trustworthiness of social mission statements makes them suitable evaluation tools for social enterprises.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy Mersland & Samuel Anokye Nyarko & Ariane Szafarz, 2019. "Do Social Enterprises Walk the Talk? Assessing Microfinance Performances with Mission Statements," Working Papers CEB 19-008, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/285367
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Yi-Hsin & Lin, Feng-Jyh & Wang, Kuo-Hsiung, 2021. "The effect of social mission on service quality and brand image," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 744-752.
    2. Dmitry A. Ruban & Natalia N. Yashalova & Vladimir A. Ermolaev, 2021. "Is Environment a Strategic Priority of the Leading Energy Companies? Evidence from Mission Statements," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(4), pages 1-18, February.
    3. Marek Hudon & Marc Labie & Ariane Szafarz, 2019. "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… How microfinance evolved and how research followed," Working Papers CEB 19-013, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Cecilia Varendh-Mansson & Tyler Wry & Ariane Szafarz, 2020. "Anchors Aweigh? Then Time to Head Upstream Why we Need to Theorize “Mission” before “Drift”," Working Papers CEB PostPrintCEB024, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Leif Atle Beisland & Kwame Ohene Djan & Roy Mersland & Trond Randøy, 2021. "Measuring Social Performance in Social Enterprises: A Global Study of Microfinance Institutions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 51-71, June.
    6. Jay Mitra & Mariusz Sokolowicz & Ursula Weisenfeld & Agnieszka Kurczewska & Silke Tegtmeier, 2020. "Citizen Entrepreneurship: A Conceptual Picture of the Inclusion, Integration and Engagement of Citizens in the Entrepreneurial Process," Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, vol. 6(2), pages 242-260, July.
    7. Chen, Suwen & Harrison, Richard, 2020. "Beyond profit vs. purpose: Transactional-relational practices in impact investing," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 14(C).
    8. Mesbahuddin Ahmed & Anu Muhammad Anisur Rahman & Most Nilufa Khatun, 2020. "Empowerment of the Extreme Poor Women through Microfinance: Evidence from Northern Part of Bangladesh," Journal of Contemporary Research in Social Sciences, Michael Laurence, vol. 2(4), pages 68-80.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mission statement; Mission drift; Microfinance; Social enterprise; Content analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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