Reviewing a Decade of Research on the 'Base/Bottom of the Pyramid' (BOP) Concept
Business & Society, Forthcoming, doi 10.1177/0007650312474928
36 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2012 Last revised: 3 Jan 2013
Date Written: December 26, 2012
In 1998-1999, Prahalad and colleagues introduced the Base/Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) concept in an article and a working paper. This article’s goal is to answer the question: What has become of the concept over the decade following its first systematic exposition in 1999? To answer this question, the authors conducted a systematic review of articles on the BOP, identifying 104 articles published in journals or proceedings over a ten-year period (2000-2009). This count excludes books, chapters, and teaching cases. The review shows that the BOP concept evolved dramatically following Prahalad’s original call to multinational enterprises (MNEs). De-emphasizing the role of MNEs over time, published BOP articles portray a more complex picture, with wide variations in terms of BOP contexts, of BOP initiatives, and of impacts of the BOP approach. A simple framework for organizing the reviewed articles helps discuss findings, identify the gaps that still exist in the literature, and suggest directions for future research.
Keywords: Base of the Pyramid, Bottom of the Pyramid, poverty, development, multinational enterprises, BOP
JEL Classification: D21, F23, I31, I32, I39, L21, L31, L33, M1, M13, M14, O17, O19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation