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Base of the pyramid success: a relational view

Carol M. Sánchez (Management, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)
Alexandra S. Schmid (Management, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 1 March 2013

839

Abstract

Purpose

The paper uses a relational view of strategy framework to measure and assess the sustainable success of base of the pyramid (BoP) projects. The authors posit that the relational view is a powerful way to determine if a firm's project might lead to sustainable competitive advantage, because if partner resources combine to create relation‐specific capabilities and competences, they may provide sustainable value, and the paper applies this method of strategic analysis to selected BoP projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper separates the secondary data analysis from the primary data analysis and offers four propositions, based on the combined relational view and BoP criteria. The authors apply the relational view framework to two BoP projects from Michigan‐based organizations. Each case is analysed using the framework, and the authors discuss how the resources of each of the BoP project partners create value, how tailored and scalable the projects are, how BoP end user needs are addressed, what resources partners contribute, and if the relation‐specific combination of resources create project level capabilities that are sustainable.

Findings

The sustainable success of BoP projects may be best achieved when the BoP project partners contribute valuable resources and when those resources combine to create relation‐specific capabilities that create sustainable success. It reinforces the importance of scale, BoP user needs, and engaging BoP customers as partners.

Originality/value

This paper tries to help explain why some BoP projects successfully create a sustainable competitive advantage, by building on strategic themes and using a variation of the relational view framework to examine resources and capabilities of the organizations that partner to serve people at the BoP.

Keywords

Citation

Sánchez, C.M. and Schmid, A.S. (2013), "Base of the pyramid success: a relational view", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 59-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/20454451311303293

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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