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Revisiting fortune at base of the pyramid (BoP)

Vipin Gupta (College of Business and Public Administration, California State University, San Bernardino, California, USA)
Shaista E. Khilji (Human and Organizational Learning, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 1 March 2013

1359

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to broaden the conception of the base of the pyramid (BoP) from that of a low purchasing power community, to a globally disconnected community.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies two views related to fortune at the BoP using the conventional purchasing power approach: finding fortune at the BoP; and creating fortune at the BoP. As a next step, the paper offers a theoretical basis for two additional views using the broader conception: sharing fortune with the BoP using social responsibility theory; and enabling fortune at the BoP using critical social theory. The authors construct an integrated framework to aid practitioners in responding to a variety of context‐specific issues in BoP strategy.

Findings

The conventional approach might result in undermining the dignity of BoP communities, and discrediting their unique knowledge systems and potential contributions. It is argued that a context‐sensitive approach can help address these issues to a great extent. In discussing context specific approaches, the paper also introduces the exchange value view that facilitates the need to evolve an open level playing field of value exchange between MNCs (and its partners) and BoP communities.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need for comparative empirical studies examining benefits and costs associated with (and the sustainability of) the three views proposed.

Originality/value

The paper offers a broader definition of the BoP, and provides alternative views going beyond the conventional strategy approach to BoP.

Keywords

Citation

Gupta, V. and Khilji, S.E. (2013), "Revisiting fortune at base of the pyramid (BoP)", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 8-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/20454451311303257

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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