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Entering the base of the pyramid market in India: A corporate social entrepreneurship perspective

Misagh Tasavori (Essex Business School, University of Essex, Southend on Sea, UK)
Pervez N. Ghauri (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Reza Zaefarian (Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 11 July 2016




The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the international market expansion of multinational corporations (MNCs) to the base of the pyramid (BoP). The authors employ the corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) perspective to reveal how MNCs can enter this market, the key enabling factors and the benefits they can gain. CSE is related to entrepreneurial and marketing strategies that are inspired by social responsibility.


An exploratory, qualitative multiple-case study has been employed. In-depth interviews were conducted with managers from three MNCs that have entered the BoP market in India.


The findings of this research confirm that successful entry into the BoP requires the pursuit of social responsibility and the adaptation of marketing strategies. In addition, MNCs should identify the key environmental factors (demand conditions and socio-political actors’ expectations) and develop organisational characteristics (management support, network orientation towards non-governmental organisations and availability of financial resources) to match. The findings of this research show that engagement in CSE in countries with considerable BoP populations can bring firms legitimacy and sustainable profitability.

Research limitations/implications

This research is based on interviews with a limited number of MNCs in India. Future studies could generalise the findings of this research to a larger number of corporations in other countries.


This research brings new insights to the field of international marketing by integrating the corporate social responsibility, marketing and entrepreneurship disciplines. The findings of this research offer empirical support for CSE and its role in international marketing strategies.



Tasavori, M., Ghauri, P.N. and Zaefarian, R. (2016), "Entering the base of the pyramid market in India: A corporate social entrepreneurship perspective", International Marketing Review, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 555-579.



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