Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Paper: Advancing the "Base of the Pyramid" Debate

Rob Katz reports his thoughts on on my paper, "Advancing the 'Base of the Pyramid' Debate." Here is the article:

In the wake of last week's discussion of Professor Anand Jaiswal's new paper, I received a note from Professor Nancy E. Landrum from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Her new paper, Advancing the 'Base of the Pyramid' Debate (PDF), was first published this past May in the inaugural issue of Strategic Management Review.

In her paper, Dr. Landrum has done a more or less comprehensive overview of the Base of the Pyramid debate. Her literature review has me looking up additional papers - and for that, I thank her. She criticizes some aspects of C.K. Prahalad's arguments based on his 2005 book, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.

Like Professor Jaiswal's paper, Dr. Landrum's falls short in that she fails to examine some of the more recent work in BOP. This may be the result of unfortunate timing - her section on mis-measurement of the BOP would benefit from a close reading of the WRI/IFC report, The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid, which came out shortly before her paper was published. It's also worth pointing out that Prahalad's research has advanced since his book came out, and that his speeches, articles, and even PowerPoint presentations are available online.

That said, I think this new paper is worth a close read for anyone interested in the BOP space. The literature review alone is worth it, but Dr. Landrum's objective analysis of the BOP debate is the real gem here. Check it out...and if there are other papers out there dealing with the BOP space, let me know!

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