The Difference Culture Makes: The Competitive Advantage of Reciprocal, Non-Monetary Exchange

33 Pages Posted: 21 May 2010

Date Written: May 8, 2010

Abstract

Increasingly, the relationship of business to the communities in which it operates is the focus of attention among management scholars. In this paper I wish to go beyond the view that communities should be seen as stakeholders and/or as the target of corporate social responsibility. I will argue that certain cultural endowments in certain communities may in fact contribute a sustained advantage to enterprises embedded in those communities. I will focus on a concentrated form of this embeddedness: ‘Community-Based Enterprises’: ventures in which communities act collectively as both entrepreneur and enterprise. An outline of the conditions in which they typically arise, the features they characteristically display – especially their blend of social and economic goals – and their participation in the global economy, offer fertile suggestions as to the way that their cultural endowments contribute a rich supply of non-monetary resources to their operations. These resources can constitute an important and sustained competitive advantage. The article recognises important challenges faced by these remarkable ventures, before drawing some provisional conclusions and suggestions for further enquiry.

Keywords: Community-based enterprise, business and culture, gift economy, embeddedness

Suggested Citation

Peredo, Ana Maria, The Difference Culture Makes: The Competitive Advantage of Reciprocal, Non-Monetary Exchange (May 8, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1612477 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1612477

Ana Maria Peredo (Contact Author)

University of Victoria ( email )

3800 Finnerty Rd
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2
Canada

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