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Business and Politics

Editor-in-Chief: Aggarwal, Vinod K.

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Marketing to the Base of the Pyramid: A Corporate Responsibility Approach with Case Inspired Strategies

Nicholas J.C. Santos1 / Gene R. Laczniak2

1Santa Clara University

2Marquette University

Citation Information: Business and Politics. Volume 14, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1469-3569, DOI: 10.1515/1469-3569.1364, April 2012

Publication History:
Published Online:
2012-04-26

The economic and political outcomes of market globalization continue to be complex. As international corporations engage developing markets, they increasingly find consumers who lack market sophistication, meaningful purchasing options and economic leverage. Such conditions are ripe for the exploitation of these market segments but also can be mitigated by enlightened managers willing to thoughtfully consider their ethical and professional obligations to vulnerable consumers. This paper builds on a normative ethical framework, labeled the integrative justice model (IJM) for impoverished markets that was introduced in the marketing and public policy literature. Specifically, the paper will extend the normative ethics of the IJM by proposing logically reasoned decision principles for managers, particularly in MNC subsidiaries, that might better shape ethical business strategy when targeting impoverished segments. Additionally, numerous case examples are given to illustrate how a number of these decision principles are already being applied by companies around the world. Such an approach can serve as a counterweight to the difficulty of crafting global regulations for market development.

Keywords: base-of-the-pyramid; corporate responsibility; distributive justice; ethical marketing; sustainability; vulnerable markets

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