Investigating the causal configurations of cost-efficient firms at the bottom of the pyramid

Shubhabrata Basu*, Surender Munjal, Ashish Malik, Demetris Vrontis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study highlights how social and commercial enterprises with local and global presence, balance their economic and social goals, to sustainably serve the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) markets, predominantly in emerging economies. Employing the lens of transaction cost economics and configurational theory, we propose that successful venturing into the BoP markets, sensitize firms to create appropriate governance mechanisms for reducing transaction costs, resulting in creation and capture of values. Further, these mechanisms enable those firms to attain cost efficiency and sustainability in the process of fulfilling their social objectives. To that end, we employed the case survey method to analyse 42 cases, from the Harvard Business School repository, on multinational enterprises (MNEs) in emerging economies. Further, we used qualitative comparative analysis to uncover the various causal governance configurations that enabled those firms to sustainably serve the BoP markets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101810
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number5
Early online date10 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bottom-of-the-pyramid
  • Causal configurations
  • Fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis
  • Social and commercial enterprises
  • Transaction cost


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