Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Business & Management, 2024, 6(3); doi: 10.25236/AJBM.2024.060302.

Adaptation Strategies for Inclusive Finance: A Study of Chinese Commercial Banks


Qiuli Huang, Shubo Liu, Mengna Lv

Corresponding Author:
Shubo Liu

Business School, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China


This study explores the dynamic interaction between commercial and social logics in the inclusive finance sector, with a specific focus on commercial banks. It is grounded in the concept of institutional logics, which includes a variety of symbols, beliefs, norms, and practices that shape societal realities and influence organizational behaviors. Commercial banks face the challenging task of balancing their pursuit of economic benefits against the diverse, and at times conflicting, demands from governments, society, and the market. A comprehensive analysis of several Chinese commercial banks reveals four distinct strategic responses: Observers, Cynics, Adapters, and Innovators. The findings offer insightful perspectives and practical recommendations for commercial banks seeking sustainable growth and profitability within the challenging terrain of inclusive finance.


Institutional Complexity, Response Strategies, Institutional Logics, Inclusive Finance, Commercial Banks

Cite This Paper

Qiuli Huang, Shubo Liu, Mengna Lv. Adaptation Strategies for Inclusive Finance: A Study of Chinese Commercial Banks. Academic Journal of Business & Management (2024) Vol. 6, Issue 3: 11-22. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJBM.2024.060302.


[1] Stawska, J. and Jabłońska, M., Determinants of inclusive growth in the context of the theory of sustainable finance in the European Union countries. Sustainability, 2021, 14, 100.

[2] Khan N, Zafar M, Okunlola A F, et al., Effects of financial inclusion on economic growth, poverty, sustainability, and financial efficiency: Evidence from the G20 countries. Sustainability, 2022, 14, 12688.

[3] Thornton, P.H., Ocasio, W. and Lounsbury, M., The Institutional Logics Perspective: A New Approach to Culture, Structure and Process. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2012.

[4] Hu, G. and Wang, J., Financial Exclusion and the Construction of Inclusive Finance System: Theory and China's Practice, Beijing: China Finance Press, 2015.

[5] Oliver, C., Strategic responses to institutional processes. Acad. Manag. Rev., 1991, 16, 145–179.

[6] Greenwood, R, Raynard, M, Kodeih, F, et al., Institutional complexity and organizational responses. Acad. Manag. Ann., 2011, 5, 317–371.

[7] Durand, R., Hawn, O., and Ioannou, I., Willing and able: A general model of organizational responses to normative pressures. Acad. Manag. Rev., 2019, 44, 299–320.

[8] Mia, M.A. and Lee, H.A., Mission drift and ethical crisis in microfinance institutions: What matters? J. Clean. Prod., 2017, 164, 102–114.

[9] Du, Q. and Pan, Y., Research on the influence of inclusive finance on regional economic development in China—An empirical analysis based on inter-provincial panel data. Inq. Econ. Issues, 2016, 3, 178–184.

[10] Schmidt, R. H., Seibel, H. D., and Thomes, P., From Microfinance to Inclusive Finance: Why Local Banking Works. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

[11] Su, T., Yu, Y., Chen, Y., et al., The experience, dilemma, and solutions of sustainable development of inclusive finance in rural China: Based on the perspective of synergy. Sustainability, 2019, 11, 5984.

[12] Zhang, X., Fu, Y., Zhang, Q., et al., Prepared or reversed: The inclusive finance policy and SMEs’ financial asset allocation. Finance Trade Econ., 2021, 42, 82–96.

[13] Friedland, R. and Alford, R.R., Bringing society back in: Symbols, practices, and institutional contradictions. In The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, Powell, W.W. and DiMaggio, P.J., Eds.; University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1991, pp. 232–263.

[14] Pache, A.C. and Santos, F., Inside the hybrid organization: Selective coupling as a response to competing institutional logics. Acad. Manag. J., 2013, 56, 972–1001.

[15] Deng, S., Rui, M. and Zhao, F., Organizational responses to institutional complexity: Analytical frameworks and a research model. Foreign Econ. Manag., 2018, 40, 3–16+29.

[16] Li, Y. and Shi, J., MSME finance engagements by Chinese traditional banks: Social responsibility or business motivation. Econ. Theory Econ. Manag., 2018, 4, 32–48.

[17] Battilana, J., Sengul, M., Pache, A.C., et al., J. Harnessing productive tensions in hybrid organizations: The case of work integration social enterprises. Acad. Manag. J., 2015, 58, 1658–1685.

[18] Grimes, M.G., Williams, T.A. and Zhao, E.Y., Anchors aweigh: The sources, variety, and challenges of mission drift. Acad. Manag. Rev., 2019, 44, 819–845.

[19] Beisland, L. A., D’Espallier, B., and Mersland, R., The commercialization of the microfinance industry: Is there a “personal mission drift” among credit officers? J. Bus. Ethics, 2019, 158, 119–134.

[20] Xiao, H. and Yang, Z., Benefit corporation: A desirable organizational paradigm for CSR practice. China Ind. Econ., 2018, 7, 174–192.

[21] Piekkari, R. and Welch, C., The case study in management research: Beyond the positivist legacy of Eisenhardt and Yin? In The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods: History and Traditions, Cassell, C., Cunliffe, A.L. and Grandy, G., Eds., London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018, pp. 345–358.

[22] Yin, R.K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods. London, SAGE Publications, 2018.

[23] Stake, R.E.The Art of Case Study Research. London, SAGE Publications, 1995.

[24] Dubois, A. and Gadde, L.E., Systematic combining: An abductive approach to case research. J. Bus. Res., 2002, 55, 553–560.

[25] Eisenhardt, K.M., Building theories from case study research. Acad. Manag. Rev., 1989, 14, 532–550.

[26] Li, J., Peng, Y. and Ma, S., Inclusive finance and economic development in China: Multidimensional connotation and empirical analysis. Econ. Res. J., 2020, 55, 37–52.

[27] Chinese government website. Available online: <https://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2017-05/27/content_ 5197378.htm> (accessed on 12 Jan. 2024).

[28] Chinese government website. Available online: <https://www.gov.cn/2011lh/content_1825838.htm> (accessed on 12 Jan. 2024).

[29] Chinese government website. Available online: <https://www.gov.cn/zhuanti/ 2019qglh/ 2019lhzfgzbg/> (accessed on 12 Jan. 2024).

[30] China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC). Available online: <https://www. cbirc.gov.cn/cn/view/pages/ItemDetail.html?docId=1136214&itemId=915&generaltype=0> (accessed on 12 Jan. 2024).

[31] Malterud, K., Qualitative research: standards, challenges, and guidelines. Lancet, 2001, 358, 483–488.

[32] Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., and Hamilton, A. L., Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology.Organ. Res. Methods, 2013, 16, 15–31.

[33] Glaser, B. and Strauss, A. Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. London: Routledge, 2017.

[34] Corbin, J. and Strauss, A. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, 4th ed. London, SAGE Publications, 2015.