Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Hans Peter Schmitz, PhD, Chair; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member; Marcus Lam, PhD, Member; David A. Bell, PhD, Member


Chikum MFB, Double Bottom Line, Institutional logics, Nigeria, Social and Financial Sustainability


Microfinance institutions (MFIs) serve a social mission, while also having to focus on financial sustainability. Microfinance emerged as an alternative to traditional aid to the poor and aims to help alleviate poverty through providing them with financial services. MFIs can be self-sustainable and even profitable through income generating activities. This twin goal of commercial viability and social mission has generated much scholarly interest in the competition between two seemingly incompatible logics of action. Assumptions about the incompatibility of profit and mission motives have dominated the literature and led to a neglect of how some MFIs may be successful in integrating both logics.

This study elaborates on the specific actions and processes Chikum MFB Ltd, - a microfinance bank located in Owerri, Nigeria took to balance ‘nonprofit’ and ‘for-profit’ institutional logics. The findings reveal that the leadership’s commitment to integrated logics enabled the deployment of the required resources to meet its goals. Commitment to founding mission provided guidance for management decisions including workforce composition, products offerings and pricing and the operation of multiple outposts. Also, its integration of financial with nonfinancial services contributed to financial sustainability, since microcredit and its associated revenue is only one of several revenue streams.

By adopting a case study approach, this qualitative study engaged in an in-depth investigation on why and how the bank engaged in sustainable microfinance practice. The interpretive approach was deployed to explore, seek understanding and interpret meaning from the interview transcripts and reviewed documents. Thematic analysis revealed five key themes that described the bank’s goal attainment strategies: shareholders’ avowed commitment to founding mission; human asset development; pro-active poor products and services offering; innovative/strategic products pricing; and institutional competitive advantage. The interrelated themes also constituted the framework for the study’s findings.

The findings underscore the need for commitment to the MFI’s organizational logics, for innovative and integrated approach to the needs of microfinance clients and to incorporate other revenue mechanisms to achieve financial sustainability. This study compliments the call to broaden the search for the double bottom-line objective to focus on understanding the effectiveness of different types of MFIs operating in different contexts.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies