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Share your research in a special issue of the Journal of Marketing Management

Deadline: 31 March 2020

Journal of Marketing Management

Digitally enabled value at the bottom of the pyramid

This special issue aims to push the frontiers of relevant theories and practices by showcasing empirical and conceptual papers on the inputs, processes and outcomes of digitally enabled value co-creation (VCC) at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP).

In the last decade research on co-creation has blossomed as a means of creating value for customers and firms (Balaji & Roy, 2017; Neghina, Bloemer, Van Birgelen & Caniëls, 2017). The concept remains at the root of both service-dominant logic (SDL) (Vargo & Lusch, 2016) and service logic (SL) (Grönroos, 2012). However, most of the research related to SDL and SL in the context of value co-creation focuses on developed economies, and scant research attention has gone into the dynamics of value co-creation in poor and disadvantaged communities in developing economies (Nahi, 2016), which may have different needs for, and nature of, consumption.

The BOP concept itself is a nascent area, although the concept and its marketing implications have gained currency in recent years (Ansari, Munir & Gregg, 2012; Kolk, Rivera-Santon & Rufin, 2014; Prahalad, 2004). While some scholars have expressed optimism regarding innovation and sustainability at the base of the economic hierarchy (Dey, Binsardi, Prendergast & Saren, 2013; Prahalad, 2012), scepticism and criticism have also been echoed in the marketing and management literature (Karnani, 2007). Attempts have also been taken to build theoretical scaffolding to define and characterise the market structure at BOP and develop appropriate marketing strategies to cater for the same (Viswanathan & Rosa, 2010).

The use of mobile telephony by BOP customers has been identified as a convincing case to demonstrate the viability and success of BOP marketing. Large telecommunication companies can potentially serve poor people profitably and enable them to enhance their quality of life (Rashid & Rahman, 2008). As such, the advent of smart technologies and various forms of Internet enabled services have opened up opportunities for further research to examine how sophisticated high-end technology can be adopted and used by poor communities and how such technology can contribute to their socio-economic well-being. Digital technology goes far beyond the realm of mobile telephony and smartphones and involves a wide range of products and services enabling consumers, small and large commercial enterprises and public bodies to interact, engage and collaborate (Dey, Babu, Rahman, Dora & Mishra, 2018). Therefore, digital technology can potentially facilitate value co-creation by connecting BOP markets with other stakeholders.

This special issue is built on three major theoretical pillars:

(1) Value co-creation, (2) BOP marketing, and (3) Adoption and use of digital technologies at BOP.

It can be argued that these concepts have significant scope for advancement and together they constitute an understudied field. The concept of value co-creation as some scholars argue is elusive and contested (Grönroos & Voima, 2013; Pfisterer & Roth, 2015; Ranjan & Read, 2016; Ravald & Grönroos, 1996) calling for further research in this area. Likewise, BOP marketing has transcended international marketing and has involved theories from the wider area of marketing and management research (Mason, Chakrabarti & Singh, 2017) creating scopes for further conceptual nourishment. While much research on BOP has paid attention to developing appropriate marketing strategies, there is a dearth in conceptualising market dynamics and consumer culture at the BOP. Digital consumer culture (consumers’ interaction and lifestyle relating to digital products and services) at BOP lacks conceptual understanding based on robust empirical data.

We welcome conceptual, methodological, qualitative or quantitative contributions grounded in a range of perspectives that offer insights into the central thesis of this Special Issue. Papers considered for this Special Issue may focus on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Theorising the interplay between BOP market characteristics and dynamics with digital technologies and resulting outcomes.
  • The nature and characteristics of value co-creation at the BOP and how that can be facilitated/inhibited by digital technology.
  • Digital consumer culture at the BOP and its impact on value co-creation.
  • Consumer empowerment at the BOP through digital technology and how that impacts on VCC.
  • Value co-destruction at the BOP and how and to what extent that can be addressed by digital technology.
  • Analysis of factors contributing to digitally enabled value co-creation at the BOP.
  • Use of social media/smart/mobile financial services/digital healthcare facilities etc. at the BOP and their prospects and challenges.
  • Interaction between the BOP and other market segments through digital technologies and resulting impact on businesses and society.
  • Impact assessment of BOP marketing and how VCC can make a contribution.


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Submission Requirements

Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes).

All submissions must follow the Journal of Marketing Management’s Instructions for Authors.

Please submit your manuscripts to JMM’s ScholarOne site. 

The closing date for submissions is 31 March 2020.

Technical queries about submissions can be referred to the Editorial Office: rjmmeditorial@westburn.co.uk

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Ansari, S., Munir, K. & Gregg, T. (2012). Impact at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ the role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment. Journal of Management Studies, 49(4), 815-842. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01042.x
Balaji, M. S., & Roy, S. K. (2017). Value co-creation with Internet of things technology in the retail industry. Journal of Marketing Management, 33(1-2), 7-31. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2016.1217914
Blowfield, M., & Dolan, C. S. (2010). Fairtrade facts and fancies: What Kenyan fairtrade tea tells us about business’ role as development agent. Journal of Business Ethics. 93, 143-162. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-010-0558-2
Dey, B.L., Babu, M.M., Rahman, M., Dora, M. & Mishra, N. (2018). Technology upgrading through co-creation of value in developing societies: analysis of the mobile telephone industry in Bangladesh. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2018.05.011
Dey B., Binsardi A., Prendergast R., & Saren M. (2013). A qualitative enquiry into the appropriation of mobile telephony at the Bottom of the Pyramid. International Marketing Review, 30(4), 297-322. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-03-2012-0058
Grönroos, C. (2012). Conceptualising value co-creation: a journey to the 1970s and back to the future. Journal of Marketing Management, 28(13/14), 1520-1534. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2012.737357
Grönroos, C. & Voima, P. (2013). Critical service logic: Making sense of value creation and co-creation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 133–150. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11747-012-0308-3
Khalid, R. U., Seuring, S., Beske, P., Land, A., Yawar, S. A. & Wagner, R. (2015). Putting sustainable supply chain management into base of the pyramid research. Supply Chain Management, 20, 681-696. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-06-2015-0214
Karnani, A. (2007). The mirage of marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid: How the private sector can alleviate poverty. California Management Review, 49(4), 90-111. https://doi.org/10.2307/41166407
Kolk, A., Rivera-Santon, M. & Rufin, C. (2014). Reviewing a Decade of Research on the “Base/Bottom of the Pyramid” (BOP) Concept. Business & Society, 53(3), 338 – 377. https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650312474928
London, T., Anupindi, R. & Sheth, S. (2010). Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers. Journal of Business Research, 63, 582-594. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2009.04.025
Mason, K., Chakrabarti, R. & Singh, R. (2017). Markets and marketing at the bottom of the pyramid. Marketing Theory, 17(3), 261-270. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470593117702286
Nahi, T. (2016). Cocreation at the base of the pyramid: Reviewing and organizing the diverse conceptualizations. Organization & Environment, 29 (4), 416-437. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086026616652666
Neghina, C., Bloemer, J., van Birgelen, M. & Caniëls, M. C. (2017). Consumer motives and willingness to co-create in professional and generic services. Journal of Service Management, 28(1), 157-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-12-2015-0404
Pfisterer, L. & Roth, S. (2015). Customer usage processes: a conceptualisation and differentiation. Marketing Theory, 15(3), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470593115569103
Prahalad, C.K. (2004). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profit. Wharton School Publishing, NJ, USA.
Prahalad, C.K. (2012). Bottom of the Pyramid as a Source of Breakthrough Innovations. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29(1), 6-12. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00874.x
Ranjan, K. R., & Read, S. (2016). Value co-creation: concept and measurement. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(3), 290-315. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11747-014-0397-2
Rashid, A.T. & Rahman, M. (2009). Making profit to solve development problems: the case of Telenor AS and the Village Phone Programme in Bangladesh. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(9), 1049-1060. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725709X479363
Ravald, A., & Grönroos, C. (1996). The value concept and relationship marketing. European Journal of Marketing. 30(2), 19-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090569610106626
Roy, S. K., Balaji, M. S., Sadeque, S., Nguyen, B., & Melewar, T. C. (2017). Constituents and consequences of smart customer experience in retailing. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 124, 257-270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2016.09.022
Sánchez, P. & Ricart, J. E. (2010). Business model innovation and sources of value creation in low-income markets. European Management Review, 7, 138-154. https://doi.org/10.1057/emr.2010.16
Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2016). Institutions and axioms: an extension and update of service-dominant logic. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(1), 5-23. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11747-015-0456-3
Viswanathan, M. & Rosa, J.A. (2010). Understanding Subsistence Marketplaces: Toward Sustainable Consumption and Commerce for a Better World. Journal of Business Research, 63(6), 535–537. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2009.06.001