Kiva and Microfinance-Final Paper Topic


After struggling to find an appealing and interesting topic to write my final paper about, I’ve finally decided to analyze microfinance institutions in the United States,  specifically Kiva.  The readings this week sparked my interest and curiosity in organizations such as these, and I think this can make for a fascinating paper.  I’ve found past few discussions we’ve had in class revolving around innovation and social entrepreneurship to be incredibly interesting and believe that their impact as well as importance in the world for years to come will be ever increasing and profound.  Even though I don’t have any personal experience with these types of institutions, I want to use this paper to learn more about them while at the same time analyzing their organizational viability and characteristics.  So here are the preliminary ideas I’d like to address within the paper.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!

In general, most microfinance institutions such as Kiva are organized to be non-profit because usually, people can find it contradictory and even immoral that a microfinance institution would be making money off of loans that are directed to help alleviate poverty and extend credit to those who cannot access it. Oddly enough, Kiva is actually structured much like a for-profit business in that it has a CEO as well as a governing board of directors. Even though it makes sense to me that the organization is structured like this, I’d like to dig deeper into the rationale behind the structure of Kiva and what type of system seems to most closely align with and explain its structure.

Next, I’d also like to explore the way in which Kiva interacts with the various actors who makes their business possible.  I’m referring to everyone from the local MFI’s, entrepreneurs, business partners (such as PayPal), and finally the loaners.  It takes a great deal of organizational and administrative complexity to handle such dealings and relationships, so I think it would be very interesting to further examine the ties that Kiva has formed with these various groups and in some way relate their relevance and importance back to org theory.  I’m thinking that Chapter 11 in the Scott and Davis book (specifically alliances and external netoworks) will have solid information pertaining to this area.

Kiva also is unique because they have successfully been able to combine micro finance with social networking.  This innovative way of connecting people not only to the entrepreneurs they are funding, but also with their fellow loaners has been deemed by the company, as well as many onlookers as a huge success.   This topic also relates to the importance of networks within organizations, and more specifically internal networks.   I’d like to further explore why this type of method was utilized by Kiva over another, more traditional method of internet microfinancing.

These clearly are just preliminary and rough ideas I’ve come up with thus far relating to Kiva…anything else you guys can think of that might be interesting to examine/relate to the text or other org theory I’d love to hear about! Thanks!

2 Responses

  1. I think this will be an interesting final paper to write about. Also, I don’t know if you got the campus email from recently but the co-founder, Jessica Jackley, is a finalist in the TIME 100 Most Influential People. And, she is a BUCKNELL GRAD!!

  2. Look into the Ashoka website and also Stanford Social Innovation Review for more resources.

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