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Toward a service ecosystem perspective at the base of the pyramid

Soumaya Ben Letaifa (École des Sciences de la Gestion, University of Quebec At Montreal (UQAM) Montreal, Canada)
Javier Reynoso (Tecnológico de Monterrey, EGADE Business School, Monterrey, Mexico)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 19 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to combine service-dominant logic premises with ecosystem characteristics in the base of the pyramid (BoP) environment, aiming to establish the foundations of a new service ecosystem framework for BoP contexts.


This conceptual paper is developed by connecting service logic with an ecosystem perspective, developing theoretical propositions for sustainable service ecosystems at the BoP, and identifying future research direction using this new framework.


The paper first highlights main challenges faced in the BoP environment. It then constructs an ecosystem framework for BoP contexts composed by four theoretical propositions: first, need to shift from a top-down to a multi-actor BoP approach; second, need of social embeddedness for successful BoP initiatives; third, service co-creation for and with local communities with actors playing multiple social roles; and fourth, multi-actor and multi-dimensional value creation. Future research directions are identified related to these propositions.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretical propositions integrating the service ecosystem framework need further exploration and confirmation with additional empirical studies.

Practical implications

Proposed framework and propositions provide useful insights for practitioners from different types of organizations aiming to participate in BoP markets.

Social implications

Understanding the need to integrate a service ecosystem perspective in BoP contexts is fundamental to better address the needs of all actors involved.


The conceptual framework proposed offers a comprehensive, multi-dimensional, and multi-actor perspective on how to understand, and better address services in BoP contexts. Future research avenues identified offer a more inclusive agenda for increasing service knowledge at the BoP.



The authors would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their useful feedback in the improvement of this manuscript. They would also like to express their gratitude to professors Chiara Orsingher, Sylvie Llosa, and Kiane Goudarzi for their consideration and invaluable support during the elaboration of this paper, as members of the organizing committee of the 13th International Research Conference in Service Management held by Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management, at La Londe les Maures, France, May 27-30, 2014.

Javier Reynoso would like to acknowledge the collaboration of senior researcher Karla Cabrera in the preparation of this manuscript.


Ben Letaifa, S. and Reynoso, J. (2015), "Toward a service ecosystem perspective at the base of the pyramid", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 684-705.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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