Self-help groups in India: challenges and a roadmap for sustainability

Akhaya Kumar Nayak (Area of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Prabin Kumar Panigrahi (Area of Information System, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Biswanath Swain (Area of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 13 August 2019

Issue publication date: 31 August 2020




Self-help groups (SHGs) have widely been accepted by developing nations for their contribution to inclusive development. Despite its importance and the recognition of the same, SHGs and their members face several challenges. The purpose of this paper is to comprehensively investigate the inhibiting factors affecting the effectiveness of women SHGs. The paper also proposes a roadmap for all the self-help promoting institutions, such as banks, state and central government, and non-government organizations to address the challenges.


The study adopts an exploratory research design to undertake this applied research. It uses phenomenographic and interpretative approaches. Qualitative data have been collected from 24 members belonging to eight SHGs from the eastern Indian state of Odisha with the help of a semi-structured interview schedule. The result has been analyzed by using content analysis.


The study finds that SHG members in Odisha face several challenges in the form of financial bottlenecks, entrepreneurial obstacles, capacity-building impediments, mentor-ship challenges, socio-structural challenges and group dynamics.

Research limitations/implications

The study finds many unique and contextual inhibiting factors, which are valuable additions to the existing literature. At the same time, the result may not be applicable to other kinds of SHGs, such as Alcoholic Anonymous, as their nature, composition and deliverables are quite different from the SHG that the current study has taken into consideration.

Practical implications

The proposed roadmap would be useful to policymakers, non-government organizations and other agencies involved in the promotion and capacity building of SHGs operating in Odisha in particular and India in general.


The literature is mainly concerned with the impact evaluation of SHG programs. This study investigates the challenges faced by SHGs in a systematic way and provides a roadmap to address the same in a comprehensive way.



Nayak, A.K., Panigrahi, P.K. and Swain, B. (2020), "Self-help groups in India: challenges and a roadmap for sustainability", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. 1013-1033.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

1. Introduction

Self-help and mutual aid have been existing since time immemorial (Katz, 1977; Toseland and Hacker, 1982). Scholars believe that it might not have been possible for a man to survive the natural evolutionary process without living together in bands and mutually supporting each other (Kropotkin, 1972; Toseland and Hacker, 1982). Self-help groups (SHGs) provided an effective way for human beings to overcome environmental threats and deprivations (Toseland and Hacker, 1982). SHG connotes a group of people (generally small) who help themselves, who change their ways of life by their own effort, because they perceive that their needs are not or cannot be met by or through existing social institutions (Katz and Bender, 1976a). These groups emphasize on face-to-face social interactions and assumption of personal responsibility (Katz and Bender, 1976b).

The origin of early forms of SHGs in an organized form may be traced back to the Friendly Societies and Unions (such as Incorporations of Carters initiated in 1955, The Fraternity of Dyers set up in 1670) of 16th century Europe, the period of Industrial revolution (Katz and Bender, 1976a). Gradually, there evolved consumer co-operatives and disease-specific SHGs, such as Alcoholic Anonymous established in 1935 (Katz and Bender, 1976a).

Over time, the nature and functions of SHGs have been diversified. Unlike elsewhere in the world, the scope of SHGs in India encompasses microcredit or microfinance program. SHGs in India are small, economically homogeneous, and affinity groups of poor people. The members meet their emergency needs by regularly saving some money in a common fund, and availing from the group collateral free and low-interest loans on terms decided by the group (Singh, 2008). At the micro level, SHGs empower poor and disadvantaged (especially women) by providing them with opportunities and financial assistance to enhance their skills, get employment, generate income and overcome poverty (Duncombe and Heeks, 2002; Deininger and Liu, 2009). At the macro level, a vibrant SHG fraternity, as small and micro entrepreneurs, provide economic flexibility and turns the tiny involuntary savings of poor women (otherwise that would have been lost to consumption) into local investments (Duncombe and Heeks, 2002).

Several studies have claimed the effectiveness of SHGs in empowering the women (especially poor) economically, socially and politically (Mohapatra and Sahoo, 2016; Kumar, 2009; Sreeramulu and Hushenkhan, 2008; Murthy et al., 2007). However, one of the authors while interacting with a few key SHG members from Baragarh district of Odisha, India, came to know that SHGs were facing numerous challenges and were unable to address those. The members of two such SHGs became impoverished to the extent of committing suicide for being unable to tolerate the humiliation that they were facing due to their inability to repay the loans from Microfinance Institutions. The groups were also on the verge of closure. The authors went back to the extant literature to see whether these challenges were already cited, along with finding recommendations to overcome the challenges. The authors, after collating the challenges identified and recommendations suggested in several research papers (Moyle et al., 2006; Goetz and Sen Gupta, 1996; Christabell, 2009; Kashyap, 2008; Shankar, 2014; Mohanty, 2013), observed that a substantial chunk of the prima facie challenges obtained from the interaction with the key stakeholders were either apparently different or partially represented.

That motivated the authors to undertake a systematic and comprehensive qualitative empirical study to find out the major challenges that the SHG members in Odisha face and to suggest a roadmap to overcome those challenges. In accordance with these objectives, the study purports to deal with the following research questions (RQ):


What are the challenges that the SHGs in Odisha are facing with?


How can these challenges be addressed?

The paper starts with reviewing the extant literature on challenges faced by the SHG members. The second section discusses the methodology adopted for studying the phenomenon and analyzing the collected data. The subsequent sections present the key findings after systematically analyzing the obtained data. The paper then presents a roadmap in the form of implementable recommendations to address the challenges faced by SHG members. Finally, it concludes with a discussion on the theoretical contributions and practical implications.

2. Review of literature

SHGs have been existing for quite a substantial period and thus have sought the attention of scholars from various disciplines. The authors, therefore, attempted a systematic literature review with a purpose to find the emerging themes related to the research questions. Following the guidelines proposed by previous scholars in their work on the systematic literature review (Prikladnicki and Audy, 2010; Busalim, 2016), the authors used the keywords, such as SHG, micro-credit, micro-finance and self-help affinity groups for backward and forward search.

2.1 Financial challenges

Although SHGs are instrumental in promoting credit-worthiness of women, there are concerns about the sustainability of SHGs and the graduating of SHGs from microcredit units to microenterprises (Karmakar, 2008). The factors affecting the sustainability of SHGs are, improper record-keeping of SHG transactions, lack of mechanisms to ensure compulsory repayment, and inability to pay overdue amounts due to the destitute condition of some of the members (Sinha, 2005). Besides, SHGs suffer from inadequate bank loans, delay in sanctioning of loans, lack of insurance facility, and selection of inappropriate ways of investment (Das, 2016). A bank loan sometimes leads to overwork and malnutrition among SHG members (Ackerly, 1995). SHG federations too exhibit poor skills in financial management leading to a low level of financial sustainability (Kumar, 2010).

2.2 Capacity building impediments

Though access to financial services makes a vital contribution to the economic productivity and social well-being of poor women, it does not automatically empower women. To be financially self-reliant by using the credit for their own enterprises, SHG members must be trained (Banerjee and Ghosh, 2012; Kabeer, 2005). On the contrary, SHG systems in Odisha are insufficiently motivated (CARE – India and Mission Shakti, 2005) as self-help promoting institutions (SHPIs) have been concentrating on the promotion of a number of groups rather than leveraging their quality (Shylendra and Bhirdikar, 2005). The field level officials including the ones from Regional Rural Banks and commercial banks are inadequately trained and motivated (Rath, 2007). Lack of or insufficient capacity building (skill development) measures prevent the SHG members from taking up appropriate entrepreneurial activities (Mohanty, 2013). Many a times, SHG members undertaking entrepreneurship lack marketing skills due to lack of proper training. Consequently, they face the heavy financial loss that impedes their chance of promoting livelihood through SHGs (Kashyap, 2008). These scholars suggest that SHGs are required to be offered sufficient credit and skill development programs. In addition, SHGs (micro-enterprises) should explore the urban markets to sell their products.

2.3 Entrepreneurial stumbling block

Management of micro-enterprises and marketing the products are important determinants of SHG effectiveness. SHGs often lack practical knowledge about the functioning of the market (Thileepan and Soundararajan, 2013; Savitha and Rajashekar, 2014). They are also poor in brand-building and are ignorant about ISO (International Organization for Standardization) like quality management system in their organizations (Ghoshal, 2015; Christabell, 2009). To overcome the marketing challenges, scholars suggest NGOs to step in and link the local producers to urban markets (Shankar, 2014). New SHPIs, such as post offices, gram panchayats, and farmers’ clubs could also be strengthened to act as intermediaries to undertake this linking task (Mohanty, 2013).

2.4 Socio-structural limitations

One of the objectives of the SHG system is to empower women socio-economically and politically. Managerial control over loans is an indicator of empowerment (Goetz and Sen Gupta, 1996). However, it is often observed that women, particularly the married ones, exercise little or no control over their loans. Male members in their family use these loans and take the responsibility of repayment. But, male members are insincere in timely repayment of the installments. This forces the women to sell their belongings and use their savings to repay the loans. This state indicates that women have responsibility without any control. Unwilling to repay the loan leads to an intensification of tensions within the households, and thereby, resulting violence (Goetz and Sen Gupta, 1996). Substantiating the trend, Montogomery et al. (1996) report that 9 per cent women primarily manage their loan funds, whereas 87 per cent loanees jointly manage the fund with other family members (with husband, son, parents or in-laws) which can be seen as male dominance in disguise. Furthermore, SHG members lack support from other family members to carry out SHG activities while executing the domestic responsibilities (Thileepan and Soundararajan, 2013; Savitha and Rajashekar, 2014; Singh, 2014). Consequently, being overburdened, members feel physical and psychological stress (Moyle et al., 2006).

Table I summarizes the core finding related to various themes found from the systematic literature review.

The studies have addressed the challenges faced by SHG members in different contexts. However, these studies have covered limited dimensions of challenges and are from researchers’ own perspectives only. A comprehensive study on inhibiting factors is still absent in the literature. Therefore, this study aims at systematically exploring a comprehensive set of challenges faced by SHGs in Odisha and recommending a roadmap to address these challenges.

3. Methodology

The current study falls in the category of applied research as it is trying to recommend a roadmap to overcome the bottlenecks of SHG system so as to bring them onto a sustainable platform. It employs an exploratory research design as prior studies in this field are scarce. Owing to its suitability, the present study uses phenomenographic approach (Marton, 1981) that intends to describe, analyze and understand the people’s experience. In addition, the interpretative approach has been followed to collect the perspectives of several stakeholders to form a common set of views (Bevir and Kedar, 2008). The study makes use of qualitative content analysis method – a flexible method of analyzing text data (Cavanagh, 1997). In this method, a large amount of text data have been classified into an efficient number of categories conveying similar meanings (Weber, 1990). This method helps to explore the hidden contents of spoken words and written texts (Krippendorff, 2004; Weber, 1990). The categories are arrived at with the help of a deductive-inductive method framework. In the beginning, the challenges and recommendations from the literature were searched and listed out. However, after interacting with a few key respondents, it was found that the challenges and recommendations mentioned in the literature are partially addressing the issues. Thereafter, a systematic qualitative study has been carried out to explore major challenges comprehensively.

As sample for the study, 24 women members have been selected from eight SHGs, out of which 15 are secretaries and presidents (having minimum of four years of experience in the given positions) and 9 are regular members. Secretaries and presidents are chosen, because they are responsible for bank transactions, organizing weekly meetings, collecting thrift and installments from members and coordinating with external agencies such as banks, block offices and SHPIs. Hence, they can articulate the challenges in a better way. Minimum of four years of experience ensures that they have got ample time to do something worthwhile. Other regular members are included in the sample to bring their perspectives different from that of the leaders. A few leaders and members from defunct SHGs are included in the sample to capture the serious challenges that forced the members to close down their groups. The study has considered only women SHGs for the simple reason that men SHGs are very rare in India. The sampling design includes purposive sampling of maximum variation type and purposive sampling of criterion type (Palys, 2008). Accordingly, there has been an inclusion of sample units from all three revenue divisional commissions, such as North, Central and South. The sample includes both ordinary members and office bearers, and members belonging to different castes as well. The eastern Indian State of Odisha has been considered as the sampling area for the study. The reason behind selecting the State of Odisha is that innumerable studies on SHGs have already been carried out in four southern states of India, such as Tamil Nadu (Jakimow, 2007; Sahu, 2015; Fujita and Sato, 2014), Kerala (George, 2004), Karnataka (Sahu, 2015) and Andhra Pradesh (Suda and Bantilan, 2014). In spite of a strong presence of SHGs in Odisha, it is underrepresented in the current literature.

The study makes use of a semi-structured interview schedule as a tool for data collection developed based on the themes obtained from existing literature and modified on the basis of the pilot study. The schedule was translated into Odia language for better communication with the respondents. Relevant empirical data for this study were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews. Respondents participated in the interview voluntarily. The duration of the interview was 40 min to 1 h 30 min. The interviews were conducted in an intensive discussion mode using Odia language (the mother tongue of the respondents) as the medium of communication. The responses of the participants were then translated into English. The interviewers continued collecting data until they achieve data saturation (cf. Guest et al., 2006).

After the expert transcription of interview scripts, the themes were derived using content analysis. One of the authors and an expert coder independently generated the themes. After evaluating the output of both the coders, it was found that in some places outputs of both the coders were matching completely. However, there were few contradictions between the coders where the conflicting themes were finalized on the basis of mutual consent after discussion. The final constructs were rephrased after mapping it to the constructs existing in the literature. The study makes use of directed qualitative content analysis which is appropriate when there exists some constructs or theories in the literature (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005). This methodology uses pre-conceived categories for interview and content analysis too. To ensure inter-rater reliability, a third rater has been involved. Based on his agreement and disagreement on excerpts of interview and finalized themes, Cohen’s Kappa has been calculated which is happened to be 0.73. This value is within the acceptable range (0.4-0.75) and thus is good enough to go ahead with proposed themes.

4. Findings

By adopting qualitative content analysis method, the authors completed the tasks of transcription, coding, generating sub-themes, and main themes. The verbatim was then segregated and aligned with the generated subthemes and themes. These are presented in a tabular form with sub-theme-wise percentage of respondents (see Table AI). Tables numbered II, III, and IV are derived from the table presented in Appendix (Table AI). Table II depicts the themes and sub-themes already identified in the extant literature and matches those with the findings of this study.

4.1 New themes and sub-themes found

The study finds a set of new themes that are not explicated in the extant literature. The study also discovers several new sub-themes related to main themes found in the literature. Table III presents the new themes along with their sub-themes.

Table IV summarizes the new sub-themes derived from the current study related to the themes already found from literature.

SHGs primarily attract women from lower middle and poor economic background. A few women from the upper middle and rich economic background participate in SHG. They do so with a motive to gain political mileage, while helping other members of the group develop socio-economically. The poorest of the poor are excluded from joining the SHGs mainly because of their inability to contribute the thrift amount, which is a requirement to continue as an SHG member (Suda and Bantilan, 2014).

After doing a deductive-inductive content analysis of the responses, the authors arrived at six major factors negatively affecting the SHGs. These are financial bottlenecks, entrepreneurial obstacles, capacity-building impediments, mentorship challenges, socio-cultural challenges, and group dynamics.

4.2 Financial bottlenecks

Financial bottlenecks include the difficulties that SHG members are facing in connection with bank loans, repayments, and defaulting. This is one of the major factors negatively affecting the SHGs. The range of issues related to bank loans are: nationalized banks not having adequate number of branches in rural areas; difficulty to obtain bank loans; insufficient amount of bank loans sanctioned to the groups; second loan not being sanctioned even after repaying the first loan; difficulty in getting subsidy due to various reasons, such as control by politically powerful people, defaulter status of the family members of respondents; demand of huge share by middlemen; disbursing loans in installment by Gramya bank/co-operative banks but charging interest for the entire amount from the very beginning; being overburdened to repay the multiple microfinance loans availed by them; and non-co-operation from bank staffs/officers.

SHG system is known for a higher rate of repayment of bank loans. However, the number of defaulters which used to be very less is steadily increasing now. The respondents identified some reasons behind non-repayments or delayed repayments of installments. The reasons are: no or low profit from income generating activities (IGAs), lack of coordination among members, crop failure, multiple loans from microfinance institutions, and members leaving the village without notice. In case, the members do not make any profit from IGAs, they repay the bank loan by borrowing from money lenders, or from other family income or profit from the previous loan. One of the respondents shared a unique issue in this regard. She says:

Bank is not receiving the repayment early instead the officer is advising us to repay in installments as agreed upon at the time of granting loan.

Another respondent says:

The insurance amount is much less than the price of the goats (those have died). On the top of that, the insurance officials are not at all co-operative.

Quite a few respondents strongly feel that there should be provisions of appropriate bank loan for eligible and capable groups, further loans for successful groups, and strong regulations for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). Women having capacity building training or entrepreneurial background seek for individual loans of bigger amounts to start an individual IGA. Whereas, members from agricultural background require small loans every year to invest in agriculture.

4.3 Entrepreneurial obstacles

SHG members are trained to undertake small and medium scale entrepreneurial activities. They get bank loans to undertake these IGAs either collectively (all the members of the group together) or individually (by distributing loan amount among the members). The success of the group depends much on the profits from these IGAs. However, undertaking IGA is not at all a hassle free process. The members are unable to undertake a profitable IGA because of various reasons, such as lack of coordination among the members; improper planning; lack of time, interest, funds and risk-taking ability; no proper place for working and meeting; and agricultural season coinciding with IGA season. Sometimes, after undertaking an IGA, the members face a huge loss. The reasons for the loss are natural calamities and lack of proper infrastructure and guidance. Some respondents reiterate:

Our leaf plates are stored in open since we do not have a proper storeroom for it. In the last monsoon, all the stored leaf plates got spoiled and we faced a huge loss.

Government provisions like Mid-day meal and Public Distribution System are difficult to get.

We do not have the provision of appropriate raw materials and machines.

One of the major challenges for SHG members is non-availability of profitable IGAs in the villages where they are operating. The members cannot produce goods which are not suitable for the local market as they cannot afford to transport their products to far away markets. Individual entrepreneurs have already undertaken the IGAs suitable to the local market and are able to meet the local demand. It is difficult for the SHGs to compete with these entrepreneurs. Further, the women involved in the traditional occupations such as bamboo work, pottery, and dry fish business have no time left to take up another IGA apart from their traditional one. Therefore, they invest the loan in their traditional enterprise which brings them less profit. Further, several SHGs lack proper places for holding group meetings and undertaking IGAs.

4.4 Capacity building impediments

Capacity building in the context of SHG means enabling the members by timely providing them appropriate training and facilitating them to undertake economic or social activity. SHPIs such as NGOs and government bodies are primarily responsible for it. Mere provision of loans is futile in the absence of the knowledge for its utilization in a productive way. Three challenges are found related to training: first, training is not at all provided; second, wherever it is provided, no follow up action has been undertaken; third, members are trained for a particular trade but are undertaking another trade. For instance, many groups began cattle rearing without being trained for it. This eventually led to low production of milk/meat and death of animals. Whereas, there are some groups where husbands of the members have undergone training and been carrying out profitable IGAs. A few members repent for the time and energy that they have invested in undergoing training in a trade different from that they are undertaking. Some groups also lack basic skills like calculation and record keeping which is required for group operation. Some respondents reiterate:

We do not have the proper training for taking proper care of the goats that we bought with loan money, therefore these are dying in regular intervals and we are facing a huge loss.

Even after producing some products, we do not get proper marketing facilities for our products.

SHPI/Bank provided machines or IGAs without ensuring proper infrastructure and training.

No one is there in our group to do the calculation and keep the record properly, so facing a lot of problem during financial transactions.

4.5 Mentorship challenges

SHPIs mentor the SHGs by forming the groups, providing capacity building training to the group, and following up. They are supposed to handhold the SHGs in the initial periods and offer proper guidance and suggestion whenever SHGs approach them. If the SHPIs become irresponsible, the SHGs suffer. In the study area, the SHPIs were NGOs, and the Mission Shakti (the state level organization promoting SHGs through the workers of department of Integrated Child Development Scheme such as Anganwadi workers). Some statements of the respondents which highlight the intensity of this problem are as follows:

SHPI is not providing required support for IGA. It is only registering the groups.

SHPI (NGO/Odisha Tribal Employment & Livelihoods Programme) took our SHG records but never returned. They promised many things many times but never fulfilled any.

NGO took money from us to promote our group.

NGO demanded more money for bank clearances and linkage/training which we did not give, so they went away.

In one of the models of SHG promotion, banks act as SHPIs. At times, they disburse a part of the loan in kind in the form of rice mill or grinder. While a few respondents appreciate this gesture, others perceive it as a potential cause of further trouble, especially when the skills and capabilities of the members are not taken into consideration before providing the infrastructural support. A respondent belonging to a group consisting of scheduled caste (backward castes based on ritual purity) members from central revenue divisional commission (Bargarh) recollects:

We are efficient in the traditional way of weaving Sambalpuri cloths. But the bank and NGO forced us to take modern machines as a part of the loans and start weaving in the modern method in which we are not at all trained. That resulted in the production of very bad quality clothes. Nobody is ready to buy those clothes and we are facing huge loss and thus not able to repay the loan. We have also taken up loans from MFIs. Because of the loss that we faced in our IGA combined with our husband’s extravagant expenditure on alcohol, we are left with no money to repay the bank and MFI loans. At a point of time, we were thinking of committing suicide being ashamed by the regular visit of MFI staff.

Another respondent says:

The SHPI have provided a big grinder to us without ensuring the infrastructure such as electricity and working space, needed for it. Unable to use the grinder in the absence of infrastructure, we have sold the grinder at a very low price and are repaying the loan out of our family income.

Hence, it is high time for SHPIs to concentrate on improving the quality of SHGs instead of increasing the number.

4.6 Socio-Structural challenges

Family and caste are two critical components of Indian social structure affecting major aspects of the Indian social life. The SHGs are not an exception to this. SHG members require adequate support from their family members to execute SHG related activities like IGA, bank transaction and SHG meetings. The women sometimes need the domestic chores to be managed by their family members, particularly when they have urgent SHG related work to complete. It is harder for members from upper caste to work outside the family. They are accused of bringing disrespect to their families by doing so. Some of the respondents reiterated the following difficulties:

We are not getting any support from our family members.

I am not able to take care of my child and group simultaneously.

All the members of our group are from respectable family thus they are not interested to go out. Because in our locality, setting our feet outside the home without husband is considered as defaming the family.

4.7 Group dynamics

Group dynamics here refers to the skills, character, and level of solidarity, motivation, and trust that group members possess. SHGs generally have two office bearers (a president and a secretary) and other regular members. Office bearers are not always efficient and transparent. Some of them have appropriated the group money. Other regular members are also not free from faults. Some of them are not interested or motivated enough. They even do not attend the weekly group meetings. Office bearers come to their house to collect the thrift and repayment. A typical difficulty that some groups, especially the heterogeneous ones, face is the lack of consensus in decision making. They have members from different castes and economic backgrounds. Members belonging to upper castes are interested in undertaking IGAs befitting to their caste status while the members from lower castes want to have IGAs suitable to their traditional occupation and skills. The challenges such as illiteracy, lack of time, trust and arithmetic ability prevent the members from undertaking group activities smoothly. These bring disagreement among the members that further negatively affects group solidarity. The following statements from the respondents testify these:

There is no incentive for the leaders to do bank transaction.

Group members did not trust each other, thus they fall victim to other’s conspiracy and fought among each other.

Office bearers are not efficient and also not transparent. They have appropriated money from the group.

Some members are not coming to meeting and we have to go to the member’s house to collect the money.

We are Unable to come to consensus while taking decision for we are a mixed group of poor, not so poor, illiterate and school educated women.

The composition of the SHGs plays a significant role in deciding the type of IGA that the members will commence. Cultural capital (traditional skills) (Bourdieu, 1986) and a strong affinity (Fernandez, 2006) are two vital factors to consider before the formation of a group.

5. Recommendations

Based on the findings, the study recommends several courses of action (Table V) to be undertaken by SHGs, banks, Reserve Bank of India, SHPIs (such as NGOs and government bodies), Gram Sabhas and Gram Panchayats. The study arrived at these recommendations following a deductive-inductive method. To begin with, the authors compiled the recommendations already present in the extant literature. Then, they tried to find out whether these recommendations are addressing the categories of challenges (and the specific problem included in each category). It was observed that while these recommendations are apt to deal with a few challenges, several of them were still unaddressed. The study, thereafter, recommends a comprehensive set of actions corresponding to each category of challenges after validating the same by experts.

The detailed recommendations to address the challenges are delineated in Table V. A few of the crucial recommendations are as follows. While forming the groups, SHPIs must look into the socio-economic and cultural homogeneity amongst the potential members having close affinity to enhance the sustainability of the groups. While providing capacity building training to SHGs, the SHPIs need to identify the cultural capital of the members and leverage the same by updating and advancing. Instead of providing the loan in cash/credit, the SHPIs may offer part of the sanctioned loan in kind in the form of machines or mills suitable to their existing or acquired skills. Before providing machines or mills, the SHPIs need to ensure that the infrastructural provisions pertaining to electricity, space for work etc. are available with them. It is imperative for the banks to contextually design a loan repayment method suitable to the earning cycles of SHG members rather than universally imposing a monthly repayment system. As most of the SHGs are the First-Time entrepreneurs lacking the skills to identify the appropriate market for their products, the SHPIs need to link the producer SHGs to urban markets. Non-producer SHGs will be immensely benefited, if Gram Sabhas entrust them with Mid-day Meal progam, Public Distribution System and other suitable public service schemes.

The current study then prioritized the recommendations by following the Eisenhower Matrix and Brian Tracy’s ABCDE method (Brandall, 2016). Adopting the Eisenhower Matrix, the key stakeholders (SHG members and SHPI officials) were asked to arrange all the recommendations into categories based on urgency and importance. The matrix is presented in Figure 1.

After categorizing all the recommendations, the ones falling in the categories III and IV are taken out. However, most of the recommendations fell in the categories of “urgent and important”, and “important but not urgent”. Therefore, to further decide the relative priority of these recommendations, the study followed Tracy’s ABCDE method. The stakeholders were asked to go through the list of recommendations and order these by assigning the letters A to E (A being the highest priority and E being the least). Further, they were asked to assign numbers starting from 1 onward to the tasks that are assigned with similar letters on the basis of their importance and urgency. Finally, the authors fixed the priority of all the recommendations sequentially which are presented in Table V (where “I” represents top priority and “XV” represents the least priority).

6. Conclusion

This study contributes to the existing body knowledge by providing a comprehensive analysis of the major challenges from combined perspectives of the SHG members and the experts, which balances biases from both sides. Respondents face the challenges by themselves, and therefore, are in the best place to articulate these challenges aptly. On the other hand, there is a chance that the respondents may speak their side of the story only. They also lack proper comprehension of different dimensions of the challenges. Therefore, the authors have validated the respondents’ responses with the experts. Finally, the authors arrive at the categories of challenges through content analysis. In this study, the authors comprehensively compiled the genuine bottlenecks that SHG members face which is conspicuously absent in the literature.

As the SHG program is mostly anchored by government-owned organizations, it is the responsibility of state and central governments to formulate and implement certain essential guidelines for the SHPIs. In this stage of the SHG movement where the SHPIs have achieved a commendable number of participants, they have to concentrate on the improvement of the quality of the groups rather than quantitative expansion of the phenomenon. Above mentioned recommendations would come in handy for the SHPIs at both government and private levels.

Along with the specific recommendations provided above, the study also recommends that SHPIs have to keep certain important points in mind while promoting SHGs. Before providing loans to the group, SHPIs have to ensure that the members are sufficiently informed about the details of the loans, interest rates, installments, subsidies and other facilities and disabilities (if any). Most preferably, with some additional skill training, they should be encouraged to take up those IGAs in which they are traditionally skilled. The SHPIs should develop some mechanisms to ensure that the members are encouraged and inspired to actively participate in the group activities. Members have to be properly trained to study the market situation and produce marketable products. A common marketing expert could be hired for the SHGs operating in a cluster of villages. In case they produce some novel products, they should be sufficiently assisted by these experts to market their product properly, preferably in local market first and then in state or national markets. Anganwadi workers should be sufficiently educated in SHG matters (for they are the agents of Mission Shakti in promoting SHGs) so that they can provide all necessary information and instruction to the women members before and after joining SHGs.

6.1 Limitations

The findings of this study can be applicable to several micro-credit based SHGs operating in India, but may not be applicable to SHGs of other kinds such as Alcoholic Anonymous as their nature, composition, and deliverables are quite different from the SHGs existing in India. Due to cultural differences, the results may not be generalizable for the micro-credit groups operating in other countries of the world. It has to be validated for different cultural contexts. Caste and socio-economic background of the respondents may be playing a significant role in members facing these challenges to different degrees which we did not look into in this study. These limitations can be overcome by having a quantitative study with a large sample from all the regions of the world.

6.2 Scope for future research

There operate different models of advancing micro-credit to SHGs. There are noticeable differences in their modalities and dealings. Future research can be undertaken on the comparison of the groups financed by different financial agencies and explore the similarities and differences in the effectiveness of SHG in different models. Second, the study found that SHGs in different regions are linked with different programs which are having diametrically different purposes. SHGs in Angul district, for example, are working very closely with Vana Saranksyana Samiti (Associations for protection of forests) which aims to protect the forests and mountains. SHGs in the industrial area of Jagatsinghpur (another district in Odisha) are promoted by Industries under their schemes of corporate social responsibility and working closely with workers union. One may explore the linkage of SHGs with different programs and local organizations along with its implications and consequences.


Decision matrix

Figure 1

Decision matrix

Themes derived from the literature

Source Core Findings identified in research Themes Approach
Karmakar (2008) Sustainability of SHGs is questionable
Graduation of SHGs from microcredit units to microfinance enterprises is a concern
Financial Macro
Das (2016) Inadequate loans
Lack of insurance facility
Financial Micro
Banerjee and Ghosh (2012) Members are insufficiently trained Capacity Building Micro
Kabeer (2005) Members are insufficiently trained Capacity Building Micro
Moyle et al. (2006) Members are facing physical and psychological pressure, strain and stress Socio-structural Micro
Goetz and Sen Gupta (1996)
Montogomery et al. (1996)
Lack of women members’ control over the loan Socio-structural Micro
Christabell (2009) Poor brand building Entrepreneurial Micro
Kashyap (2008) Inefficient marketing of products leading to inefficiency within SHGs to promote livelihood of their members Entrepreneurial Micro
Shylendra and Bhirdikar (2005) Improper capacity building Capacity Building Micro
Mohanty (2013) Improper capacity building and problem in marketing Capacity Building
Savitha and Rajashekar (2014) No family support
Lack of marketing skills
Socio-structural and Entrepreneurial Micro
Shankar (2014) No link between tribal producers and mainstream market Entrepreneurial Micro

Validation of findings from literature

Themes from literature Core Findings identified in literature Our Findings
Capacity building impediments Members are insufficiently trained Yes
Improper capacity building Yes
Lack of training Yes
Improper training Yes
Entrepreneurial obstacles Lack of marketing skills Yes
Poor brand building No*
Inefficient marketing of products leading to inefficiency within SHGs to promote livelihood of their members Yes
No link between tribal producers and mainstream market No**
Financial bottlenecks Sustainability of SHGs is questionable Yes
Graduation of SHGs from micro-credit units to microfinance enterprises is a concern Yes
Socio-structural challenges Members are facing physical and psychological pressure, strain and stress Partially***
Lack of women members’ control over the loan Yes
No family support Yes

*We did not find this as a challenge because of contextual difference. In the villages of Odisha, nobody really cares about the brands; rather, the customers are ready to buy the product if they feel it is of good quality. Once the quality is assured, the product itself becomes a local brand;


In our study, we find that our sample SHGs are well connected to the mainstream local market;


Lower middle and lower class women in Odisha are accustomed to hard labor and working overtime. That is the reason most of the women very easily adapt to the pressure that comes with working through SHGs. In fact, a few respondents reported that SHGs act as a stress buster as it provides a platform for women to share their feelings with other like-minded women

New themes derived from content analysis

Themes Sub-Themes
Mentorship Challenges SHPIs make a lot of false promises which they never fulfill
SHPIs take the SHG records and never return it to groups
SHPIs charge money to promote groups, provide training, and link the group to bank
SHPIs, due to their vested interest, force the SHG members to take up an IGA which the members are neither comfortable with nor trained for
SHPIs provide machines for IGA without ensuring the required infrastructural support
Group dynamics Office bearers appropriated group money
Members are not motivated to attend weekly meetings and, therefore, send their daughters as proxy
Heterogeneous background of group members makes it difficult for an SHG to take a decision on IGA
Lack of trust among members affecting group solidarity
No incentive for presidents to do official works that demotivates them

New sub-themes derived from content analysis

Themes New sub-themes obtained
Financial bottlenecks Getting loan is very difficult, time-consuming, and controlled by politically powerful local people
Middlemen demanding huge share of the loan amount
Bank officers are not very co-operative in dealing with SHG members
Lack of transparency in bank transaction
Insurance amount is much lesser than the things insured and insurance officials are also not co-operative
The modus operandi of bank loans is not suitable for SHG members
Entrepreneurial obstacles Non-availability of profitable IGAs for SHG members
Government provisions, such as Mid-day mill and public distribution system, though profitable are difficult to get for the SHG
Unavailability of a proper place to undertake IGAs and to store the products
Members’ traditional occupations keep them fully occupied which are rarely leaving any opportunity for the members to undertake a new IGA
No mechanism to deal with natural calamities
Capacity building impediments Members are trained for a particular trade but forced to take up a different trade
Socio-structural challenges The respect of the family is associated with the female members. Female members of a higher caste family working outside is looked down upon as it is perceived to degrade the family status or prestige
There is no orientation for the male members of family regarding the benefit of their women members joining SHGs

Recommended actions

Recommendation Implementing agency Reference to the kind of bottleneck Type of action Means of undertaking the action Priority
Ensure transparency in Financial Transactions with SHGs Banks Financial Bottlenecks Immediate The bank officials are required to provide detailed information on outstanding amount in the loan account, amount already paid towards the closure of loan account, amount in the savings account, etc. to the groups whenever they need
The banks should accept early repayments whenever the SHG members initiate as it helps them repay the first loan quickly and take a higher amount of loan to start a bigger enterprise
Simplify the banking procedure for SHG members Banks Financial Bottlenecks Immediate As the large number of SHGs are present in villages of Odisha, rural branches of the nationalized banks can deploy its staff for 2 to 3 hours on every working day to facilitate SHG transactions. The cost incurred against this extra arrangement can be adjusted under bank’s ‘corporate social responsibility’ initiative VII
Design appropriate methods for the disbursement and repayment of loan Banks, Reserve Bank of India, and Government of India Financial Bottlenecks Medium Term The banks have to consult the group members and take into account their requirement before deciding whether the amount of loan should be disbursed in whole or in part
In case, the disbursed amount of loan is spent in agriculture, the banks can devise a yearly method of repayment rather than monthly, as harvest happens once a year
Help SHGs in brand building and market linkage SHPIs Entrepreneurial Obstacles Immediate SHPIs are required to help the SHGs formulate strategies for building a brand for their products
SHPIs need to help SHGs identify a customer-base for their products or services
SHPIs must link the producer SHGs to urban markets
Entrust Public Distribution System (PDS) to SHGs Gram Sabha (Village Council) and State Government Entrepreneurial Obstacles Medium Term Gram Sabhas need to pass a regulation that they will provide the MDM and PDS to SHGs of the village, if these are convenient for the SHG members
Block (district subdivision) development officers must convince and urge the leaders of village councils to follow this regulation religiously
Allow SHGs to access Village Community Halls Gram Sabha (Village Council) and Village Panchayat Entrepreneurial Obstacles Medium Term As village community halls are lying vacant most of the time across a year, SHGs should be given an opportunity to use these halls to undertake IGAs and to hold group meetings until they have their own place
Wherever possible, Gram Sabha may allot a piece of unused common land to SHGs without any charge to build their own room to carry out their activities
Align the capacity building training to cultural capital of the SHG members SHGs and SHPIs Capacity Building Impediments Immediate Professions in rural India are aligned with members’ caste. SHPIs need to take into consideration the traditional skills that the members already possess and to hone these skills through capacity building trainings
Training for a completely new set of skills needs to be avoided as far as possible
The members should be trained exactly for the kind of IGA, they are willing to take up
Follow up after the training SHPIs Capacity Building Impediments Immediate SHPIs need to invest some more time in following up after providing specific training. Quality of training must be of paramount importance
Expert suggestions and constant guidance has to be extended to SHG members
As a follow up to the trade training, SHPIs must improve members’ marketing skills by conducting systematic and innovative training program(s)
Counsel the family members of the SHG members SHPIs Socio-cultural Factors Medium Term Before inducting the women into SHGs, SHPIs need to sufficiently counsel the male members of their family and make the male members cognizant of the potential benefits of SHGs. However, it is recommended to keep the male members away from SHG decision making processes XII
Put a system of surveillance for SHPIs State Government Mentorship Challenges Medium Term Mission Shakti, OLM, and TRIPTI need to have some dedicated officers-in-charge for auditing the financial records of SHPIs and having surveillance over the activities of SHPIs. It will make the SHPIs more responsible and accountable XIV
Focus on leveraging the quality of SHGs SHPIs and State Government Mentorship Challenges Long Term State government must set realistic targets for SHPIs while promoting SHGs. The mere formation of groups does not lead to empowerment. Therefore, SHPIs are required to be instructed to spend more time on each group XV
Provide machines suitable to the skills and capability of SHG members Banks and SHPIs such as NGOs Mentorship Challenges Immediate SHPIs need to gauge the skills and capabilities of the members in each SHG and accordingly, provide them machine or infrastructure as part of the loan instead of providing them the whole loan amount
Before providing machines or mills, the SHPIs need to ensure that the infrastructure pertaining to electricity, space for work, etc. are available with the concerned SHGs
Rotate Leadership SHGs and SHPIs Group Dynamics Immediate Whenever eligible and enthusiastic members are interested to take up the leadership positions of cashier, secretary, or president, SHGs must promote that interest. But, SHGs need to adopt a rotation policy for each position, which will eliminate the occurrence of appropriation of SHG money and reduce monopoly of one member
SHPIs have to take note of the above arrangement and oversee the day-to-day activities thereon
Ensure homogeneity and affinity among the women before formation of groups SHPIs Group Dynamics Immediate SHPIs need to ensure and encourage members of similar socio-economic, cultural, and occupational background to come together to form the groups
Affinity between the members must also be considered before forming groups
It is advisable to avoid women from different castes during formation of a group
Provide a token remuneration for office bearers SHGs and SHPIs Group Dynamics Medium Term A small token of remuneration may be fixed by Mission Shakti for the cashiers, secretaries, and presidents of the groups.
Uniformity is required to be maintained across a particular region

Immediate action plans need to be given top priority followed by medium term action plans. Long term action plans need more time and therefore, should be taken up gradually but should not be neglected

Frequency distribution of sub-themes derived from the respondents’ statements

Statements given by the respondents Sub-themes Themes Percentage of respondents
Training period was very short, therefore, we could not have proper learning; Trainers were getting hurried to complete their task; After training, there was no follow up of what we learnt Members are insufficiently trained Capacity building impediments 54.16667
Many learning points were covered in a single meeting during capacity building program, thus we are not sure how to use those learning points at our workplace; SHPI provided a grinding machine without any training regarding how to make a proper use of the given machine Improper capacity building/training Capacity building impediments 29.16667
We were never given any training; We never received any training for the IGA except book keeping; No knowledge related to the process of bank transactions were provided to us; No one is there in our group who is versed with the various levels of calculation and record keeping, as a result we have been facing a lot of problems during financial transactions Lack of training Capacity building impediments 20.83333
We were given training for rearing cows but were provided with goats; We were trained to weave by using traditional looms but were given power looms Members are trained for a particular trade but forced to take up a different trade Capacity building impediments 20.83333
We don’t know how to market and sell our products; Don’t know where our products will make more profit; We are unable to find out the actual customers for our products Lack of marketing skills Entrepreneurial obstacles 62.5
People don’t have trust on our product since it is not known to them; Similar products from established companies are preferred in the market over our product; We have no idea how to build trust among the customers for our products; Our products are considered as local maal (an object of inferior quality) Poor brand building capacity Entrepreneurial obstacles 70.83333
Most of our products are unsold because of no marketing skills with our members; Low sell of products amounts to marginal profit or no profit (sometimes loss); Members have no enthusiasm because of low sell leading to no profit Inefficient marketing of products leading to inefficiency within SHGs to promote livelihood of their members Entrepreneurial obstacles 29.16667
We don’t have any tie-up with the traders in city-based markets; We have no idea whom to contact in bigger markets; We don’t have knowledge about the potential market for our products No link between tribal producers and mainstream market Entrepreneurial obstacles 62.5
Mid-day meal program has been assigned to the wives of close associates of local politicians; PDS has been assigned to politically powerful people; SHG members do not have the desired political support to get PDS; Village council is manipulated by powerful people, hence no help from the council Government provisions such as Mid-day meal and public distribution system (PDS), though profitable are difficult for the SHG to get Entrepreneurial obstacles 29.16667
We are poor women and don’t have extra space to undertake IGA; We lack proper rooms and facilities to store our products, and therefore, the leaf plates - one of our products, are spoiled during rainy seasons; We carry out our production activities in an open space, which is very difficult for us to continue Unavailability of proper place to undertake IGAs and store the products Entrepreneurial obstacles 87.5
We are helping our husbands in agriculture that keeps us busy throughout the year, thus have no time for IGA; I have to sit in my family-run shop all day long and thus have no time to take up any IGA Members’ traditional occupations keep them fully occupied, rarely leaving any opportunity for them to undertake a new IGA Entrepreneurial obstacles 20.83333
We have no insurance to take care of crop failures; Our leaf plates were destroyed due to rain and we couldn’t do anything about it; Our bamboo works were swollen due to rain and were not sold out No mechanism to deal with natural calamities Entrepreneurial obstacles 37.5
We don’t think our SHGs are going to last for long in the face of loss that we incur in IGAs; Members are not patient enough to continue in no-profit-situations; Members are not ready to invest more time and energy in SHG activities; We don’t see any benefit in continuing with the SHG Sustainability of SHGs is at stake Financial bottlenecks 12.5
We distribute the loan among the members and later, repay the loan from our family income; We are afraid of taking risk and starting a new IGA; We don’t know which IGA we can start with; We don’t feel that any profitable IGA can be undertaken in our village; We don’t think any profitable IGA can be started with small loans given to us Transformation of SHGs from micro-credit units to microfinance enterprises is a concern Financial bottlenecks 16.66667
Getting loan is difficult for us since bank officials are influenced by politically powerful local people who avail loans for the groups where their wives are the members; It takes long time to complete the formalities during a loan application; The procedure of taking loan from a commercial bank is very complex Getting loan is very difficult and time-consuming Financial bottlenecks 79.16667
Middlemen are helping us getting loan and in return, they are demanding huge amount of money as their share; Middlemen are exploiting us since we are illiterates Middlemen demanding huge share for each loan amount sanctioned to us by the bank Financial bottlenecks 12.5
Bank officers make us stand for long time for small works; They show reluctance to receive repayment when we want to repay the loan before the stipulated time; They do not share with us the outstanding loan amount that we have to pay back; Even after paying our first loan in time, they are not willing to sanction us the second loan Bank officers are not cooperative to SHG members Financial bottlenecks 29.16667
Banks do not disburse the whole amount of loan at a time but charge interest for the whole amount; Even after paying the whole amount of loan, they demand repayment without revealing the amount to be paid; They don’t allow us to withdraw money from our own savings account Lack of transparency in bank transaction Financial bottlenecks 12.5
Insurance amount is much lesser than the things insured; Insurance officials are also not cooperative; They ask for various documents which may not be required for the insurance application and the other ones that we may not have; We were not shared all the terms and conditions of insurance at the timing of buying the policy Problems related to insurance Financial bottlenecks 12.5
Banks require monthly repayment but the earning that we get, comes once in a year, i.e., from agriculture; Our business does not give profit in some seasons but we still have to repay the installments The modus operandi of bank loans are not suitable for SHG members Financial bottlenecks 45.83333
All the profitable IGAs are already undertaken by professionals; We don’t find any profitable IGAs in our village Non-availability of profitable IGAs for SHG members Financial bottlenecks 12.5
Undertaking IGA along with household chores is physically and mentally challenging for us; Managing SHG affairs along with managing home is taxing for women; Going out for SHG related works, puts the women under immense stress since their children and husbands are dependent on them for food and other things Members are facing physical and psychological pressure, strain and stress Socio-cultural challenges 87.5
We take the loan and hand it over to our husbands; Our family members ask us to take loan from the SHG but never repay the installments in time; I take the loan but my husband decides how to spend it Lack of women members’ control over the loan Socio-cultural challenges 16.66667
Family members do not support my involvement in SHG; Family members don’t help me in household chores when I have to do some work for SHG; My husband thinks it is a waste of time to take part in SHG No family support Socio-cultural challenges 25
The respect of the family is associated with the female members; Female members from a higher caste family working outside is looked down upon since it is perceived that going and working outside the family degrades the family status or prestige Difficulty for the women to work outside, in fear of degrading their family prestige Socio-cultural challenges 20.83333
Male members are not aware of the benefits of SHG; They don’t listen to us since they think we are less intelligent than them; SHPIs don’t reach out to male members to explain them the benefits of SHGs No orientation for the male members of the concerned families regarding the benefit of their women members get after joining SHGs Socio-cultural challenges 41.66667
SHPIs promised us to provide fingerlings once we are ready with our pond for fishery, but they never kept their promise; Our ponds have dried down in hot summer; SHPIs promised us to help us in marketing our products but they never did SHPIs make a lot of false promises which they never fulfill Mentorship challenges 12.5
SHPIs took our attendance and financial records but didn’t return; We lost our previous records to NGO that promoted us and therefore, we started keeping the record afresh SHPIs take the SHG records and never return it to groups Mentorship challenges 8.333333
SHPIs charge us to provide us training; They take money to link us with bank; The NGO took a portion of the seed-money that we got from the Block (District Subdivision); The NGO took money from us when we got our first loan SHPIs charge money to promote groups, to provide training, and to link the group to bank Mentorship challenges 12.5
The NGO which promoted our group has link with power loom producing companies and thus it has forced us to take the power loom in the form of loan although our knowledge is limited to traditional loom; SHPIs provide us some big machines which we are not trained in using SHPIs, due to their vested interest, force the SHG members to take up an IGA which the members are not comfortable with or trained for Mentorship challenges 29.16667
SHPI gave us electric grinder, but we have no electricity supply in our village; SHPIs gave us rice mill without checking whether we have proper high voltage power supply SHPIs provide machines for IGA without ensuring infrastructural support Mentorship challenges 20.83333
Our secretary ran away with the whole loan amount; We lodged a police complaint against our secretary who ran away with the whole loan amount but police didn’t arrest her since her husband is politically powerful; Our president appropriated group money and does not accept it Office bearers appropriated group money Group Dynamics 12.5
Members feel group meetings are not important; Members send their daughters as proxy to attend the group meetings; We have to call the members again and again to come to the meetings; We visit the homes of the members to collect repayment as they do not come for the meetings Members are not motivated to attend weekly meetings and sending their daughters as proxy Group Dynamics 20.83333
We cannot decide which IGA to take up since we are from different castes and have different occupations; Members from Brahmin community are not comfortable in fishery or agriculture, Fisher women are not comfortable in money lending; We are unable to come to a consensus on a particular IGA Heterogeneous background of group members makes it difficult to take a decision on a particular IGA Group Dynamics 33.33333
Members don’t trust each other; My group members are suspicious about me that I may run away with their money Lack of trust among members affecting group solidarity Group Dynamics 8.333333
No incentive to secretaries for visiting bank to deal with our group related financial transactions; No incentive to presidents for spending time in bank and with Block officials; We visit bank and Block once in every week but are not getting any extra benefit from the group; We spend a lot of time in keeping group account without any extra payment from the group in the form of incentives No incentive for secretaries and president to do official works that demotivates them Group Dynamics 58.33333


Table AI


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Further reading

Patton, M.Q. (2002), Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, 3rd ed., Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Corresponding author

Akhaya Kumar Nayak can be contacted at:

About the authors

Akhaya Kumar Nayak is based at Area of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India. He is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, in the Area of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Indore, India. He earned his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. His research interests include sociology of social movements, sociology of development, and sociology of third sector.

Prabin Kumar Panigrahi is based at Area of Information System, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India. He is a Professor at Indian Institute of Management Indore in the Area of Information Systems. He earned his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. His research interests include emerging technologies, e-governance, e-learning, social inclusion in IS and business value of information systems.

Biswanath Swain is based at Area of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India. He is an Assistant Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Action in the Area of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Indore, India. He earned his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. His research interests include bounded rationality, ethics in business management, marketing ethics, and corporate social responsibility.

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