Influence of Firm-Actor Integration on Value Co-creation within Base of Pyramid Market Ecosystems

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Academic and practitioner interest in the very low-income or Base of Pyramid (BOP) markets has been on the rise for the past two decades, resulting in considerable insights into the challenges and opportunities involved in introducing market-based solutions to alleviate poverty among the poorest of the poor in the world. However, in spite of much scholarly work, several facets of the dynamics of strategy implementation and operationalisation at the BOP firm and consumer levels remain obscure. This study aims to illuminate one of these aspects, namely, the influence of the integration of the firm and the multiple actors on the value that is co-created within viable market ecosystems. Theoretical lenses from the Viable Systems Approach (VSA), Stakeholder Theory and Social Network Analysis are utilised to examine the various aspects of the research problem. A multiple-case-study design has been adopted for exploring the nature of integration and the location of value co-creation leading to a successful market-based ecosystem. An Actor-Classification typology matrix and a Value Co-creation ‘Cloud’ framework are proposed in the conceptual framework and examined during the empirical part of the study. The findings of the study lend initial support for the proposition that increased bonding between the firm-actors and the community-actors can lead to an enhanced value co-creation ‘cloud’ which spreads its benefits over multiple categories of actors in the ecosystem. Besides this, the study also presents a detailed set of factors which appears to strengthen the firm-actor bonds, and explains the process through which these relationships are formed. The study contributes towards an improved understanding of the dynamics that support the development and sustenance of strong and sustainable bonds by the firm with the multiple actor-groups, as well as explains their influence on the value co-generated within the BOP ecosystem.