Multinational Companies (MNCs) and local microbusinesses at the bottom/base of pyramid (BoP) in Ghana
: a fair deal or business as usual?

  • George Obeng Dankwah

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The bottom of pyramid (BoP) concept holds that multinational companies (MNCs) can profitably serve the needs of the poor and have the opportunity to invest in the BoP market to‘do good and do well’ simultaneously. This thesis contributes to BoP concept by challenging the notion that- MNCs and big companies are the initiators of BoP business models. Recent scholars cited NGOs, SMEs, and governments as initiators, without recognising the visible activities of microbusinesses in the developing economies such as Ghana. This project aims to understand the origins of BoP business models, examine both MNCs’ co-optation and offering more of MNCs and local microbusinesses’ activities in the BoP market of Ghana. It examines the how MNCs got interest to engage the poor microbusinesses in the BoP market. The research employed case study approach and explores how MNCs interact with the local microbusinesses in the BoP market, using so-called Gioia method for data analysis.

The main result of the empirical research demonstrated the source of innovation in the BoP market as the microbusinesses and not MNCs and large companies. MNCs just identify gaps in the BoP market and then develop cost-effective solutions that often help to serve the market.The research examined a type of BoP strategy (co-optation) that was not wholly discussed in the BoP literature. BoP as a concept has become performative in Ghana as Pralahad’s proposition influenced MNCs’ managers to show interest in the BoP market.
Date of Award25 Jul 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStephanie D Decker (Supervisor) & Kirit Vaidya (Supervisor)


  • BoP concept
  • origins of BoP business model
  • co-optation strategy
  • reinvention strategy
  • performativity of BoP

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