Dynamic Capabilities and Base of the Pyramid Business Strategies

Journal of Business Ethics 89 (4):495 - 514 (2009)
Numerous scholars have observed that the relationship between poverty and violent conflict is endogenous. As a result, the area of Peace Through Commerce argues as one of its central tenets that the institution of business may be able to contribute to sustainable peace by creating economic development where poverty is a critical issue. While this argument may be valid, it leaves the question open — what is the business case for engaging in poverty alleviation business strategies? Strategic Management scholars are addressing this question, arguing the general proposition that poverty is not only experienced by the people, but also impacts businesses operating in environments where the phenomenon is pervasive. By addressing poverty, businesses can help themselves. Yet, organizational theory justifying this proposition is still emerging, consisting of only a few studies that generally suggest that these strategies can help firms develop competitive advantage through the lens of the resource-based view. This article extends the theoretical application of the resource-based view, suggesting that conditions of poverty directly suppress the value of organizational resources and capabilities that are or could be contributed by people affected by it. In addition, it characterizes poverty alleviation strategic capabilities as dynamic capabilities. Finally, it describes a framework of "base of the pyramid dynamic capabilities" that could guide both future discourse in the area and deductive-disconfirmatory research examining the efficacy of these strategies
Keywords base of the pyramid  dynamic capabilities  microfinance  poverty alleviation  resource-based view
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