The future of data-driven relationship innovation in the microfinance industry

Publication Name

Annals of Operations Research


Data-driven innovation (DDI) initiatives by microfinance institutes have transformed the global poverty alleviation landscape. Despite the fact that relationship building is one of the primary goals of DDI initiatives in microfinance operations, there has been little research on the dimensions of relationship quality. This study examines how DDI initiatives recognize and incorporate relational dimensions in their service offerings to alleviate poverty. Drawing on a systematic literature review, thematic analysis and interviews with 20 microfinance managers, this research explores the relationship quality parameters that need to be leveraged. Grounded in the resource-based theory, the findings of this study confirm trust and commitment as two key relationship capabilities. The findings contribute to a better understanding of how microfinance institutes can use DDI to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

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