The Impact of Social Media on the Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Developing Countries: A Quantitative Approach

Ahmad Daowd, Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, Tillal Eldabi, RUAA Hasan, Farouk Missi, Bidit Lal Dey

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Abstract

Purpose: Over the last few decades, microfinance industry is argued to have played a constructive role in alleviating poverty level and providing the underprivileged with access to financial services. Statistics from the World Bank reveal that, currently, only 4% of the underprivileged have been served out of the 3 billion+ potential clients. Such results are due to several claims, particularly the operational and financial challenges faced by microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the constant flux inviting more attentions towards its performance. While explicit attention is given by many researchers towards mobile banking and information and communication technology (ICT) in improving the MFIs’ performance, the study on how social media, as a rapidly growing online phenomenon, can impact on the MFIs’ performance remains scarce. As such, this study aims to investigate this impact based on four dimensional performance indicators: efficiency, financial sustainability, portfolio quality and outreach. Design/methodology/approach: A model is proposed and tested to ascertain the relationship between social media applications and organisational performance. In so doing, web-based questionnaires have been used to collect data from MFI employees in developing countries. Results reveal a significant influence of the social media over the MFIs’ performance, offering valuable insights into both researchers and practitioners in the domain of microfinance, as well as social media—conforming that the adoption of social media as marketing, advertising and communication tools may significantly improve the MFIs’ performance. Findings: The results demonstrate that there is a positive and significant impact of social media use within microfinance on the key indicators of MFIs. They also show that the highest impact of social media usage within the microfinance is on the portfolio quality. In addition, it was found that marketing and advertising; communication and sales and distribution are the main areas where social media is able to support while social networking websites are the most popular platforms employed in MFIs. Originality/value: This study adds to the existing literature few theoretical and practical aspects. First, this study developed a model for assessing the value of social media as a new phenomenon within this type of organisation. Second, it offers microfinance sponsors, managers and policy makers with a frame of reference to understand what social media platform can be deployed for each purpose. Third, with the identification of the main MFIs’ performance indicators, this research provided a reference of performance measurement guide for microfinance industry when assessing different technological employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-press)
JournalInformation Technology and People
Volume(In-press)
Early online date3 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • Information and communication technology
  • Microfinance
  • Microfinance institution
  • Performance
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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