Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Introducing Micro-Finance in Sweden

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Introducing Micro-Finance in Sweden

Article excerpt


The case describes the first year of efforts to introduce microfinance as a tool to work with vulnerable groups in Sweden, more particularly ex-convicts, former drug-addicts and long-term unemployed women of immigrant background.

The teaching objective is to discuss whether micro-finance can be seen as a tool to catalyze social change in developed welfare states such as Sweden, or if it rather reinforces the very power structures it aims to subvert.

The author uses the case to analyse the efforts to introduce a new concept to well-established economic and social actors, as well as to understand the difficulties of building collaborations between actors with different logics. The analysis is threefold: 1. The mobilization and generation of social capital; 2. The conflict of logics/frames; 3. The frame alignment process set in motion by micro-finance

The case is based on extended field research. It was written for students of social entrepreneurs hip. It has also been tested on students enrolled in the Philosophy and Economy Masters Program.


In late-March 2009, Linda Sandberg, leader for the introduction of microfinance in Sweden by the Swedish Association for Savings Banks, was considering relations with Feem (Forum for Entrepreneurs from Ethnic Minorities), the pilot project's non-profit partner. Relations had deteriorated culminating in accusations of plagiarism. Fredrik, Linda's supervisor, had asked her for an analysis of the tensions for their next meeting scheduled in one hour.


Theoretical Frameworks

The author thinks three bodies of literature are relevant in the analysis of this case:

1. Governmentality studies and its focus on the conduct of conduct: the bank's possibility to conduct Feem as well as other non-profit organizations through the technique of micro-finance. While allowing the bank to access a new market niche, it also permits the bank to govern the small organizations. Further, micro- Collaborating Partners

What are the interests of the actors involved in the micro-finance initiative?

How are these interests met by the micro-finance initiative?

Potential Of Social Change

Has the micro-finance initiative the potential to achieve social change?

How does collaboration with Feem and/or Yasta influence this potential?


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