Mobilizing a pluralist theoretical approach to understand microlending digital platforms: the AfricaMC case

Eric van Heck, Ana Clara Souza, Marlei Pozzebon*, Maira Petrini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: This study aims to explore how a microlending digital platform connects social investors in developed countries and micro-entrepreneurs in Africa. However, additional research is necessary to discuss how online auction models are designed and implemented and how existing theories can explain their use in the so-called developing countries. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on a single case study: an online auction model for microlending named AfricaMC. Two main methods collected empirical data, namely, online participant observation, i.e. real-time participation in the online auction market and in the forum of discussions, where the authors observed the processes of microlending transactions as registered members; analysis of online documents, by reviewing forum discussions, analyzing reports, blogs, chats and other materials. Findings: The results suggest that using sociological and information systems theoretical lenses in a complementary manner could provide greater value than using economics. Originality/value: The study makes two main contributions. First, it mobilizes a pluralist theoretical approach based on economic, sociological and information systems perspectives to improve the understanding of microlending digital platforms using online auction models. Second, it uses the understanding produced from data analysis of one particular African case to validate propositions derived from these three theoretical approaches that might be applied to other cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-21
Number of pages16
JournalRAUSP Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Eric van Heck, Ana Clara Souza, Marlei Pozzebon and Maira Petrini.


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