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Michael Finney

Michael Finney

Clinical Associate Professor, Global Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird School of Global Management
Arizona State University
1 Global Place
Glendale, AZ 85306-6000


  • Senior Sustainability Scholar, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Global Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • Academic Director, Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratories, Thunderbird School of Global Management


Michael L. Finney, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Global Leadership and Management at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He teaches international consulting to students and global leadership and organizational behavior to both students and corporate executives. He is also the Faculty Director of the Thunderbird Emerging Market Laboratory (TEM Lab), a capstone international consulting practicum. His work with TEM Lab involve the academic oversight of teams of Thunderbird MBA candidates assigned to social and economic infrastructure development consulting projects in emerging markets for the Exxon Mobil Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and other institutional partners.

Finney’s current research emphasis is concerned with a multiphase, multi-level research investigation of strategies for accelerating microenterprise growth toward SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) status in Emerging Markets. The research also considers the global microfinance phenomenon and the role it plays in supporting the movement of microenterprises toward SME status (including MFI characteristics and effects within and across multiple countries). The research is an attempt to identify if and how microfinance can serve as a facilitator and accelerator of the transformation of lesser-developed economies to such an extent that cross border business activities increase and whether or not increases in cross border business activities attract economic activity from more developed countries.

Finney has worked as an independent consultant and educator for 25 years, assisting NGOs, governments, and universities and corporations of all sizes develop and shape their organizational strategies. His clients have ranged from large for-profit corporations employing thousands to small not-for-profits. His expertise includes not-for-profit/NGO capacity building and strategic planning. Some of his top clients have included the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Hopi Indian Nation, the State of New Mexico and the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining Thunderbird, Finney taught at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and at Rice University, where he taught a custom Executive MBA program for healthcare executives of major hospital systems. The program helped guide strategic planning, services management, and resources management.

Finney earned his PhD in Business Administration and Organizational Development at the University of Southern California. He received his MA in Organizational and Interpersonal Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and he earned his BS in Psychology at the University of Central Arkansas.


  • PhD, Business Administration/Management and Organization, University of Southern California, 1990
  • BS, Psychology, University of Central Arkansas
  • MA, Organizational and Interpersonal Communication, University of Arkansas-Little Rock