Advancing service research through a base of the pyramid (BoP) perspective: a cross-disciplinary approach
Valdés Loyola, Ana Lucía
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In the past 10 years, a movement has developed within service research to learn from and with the poor to obtain better service from each other, their communities, corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations. Although service research aspires to include the service needs of all, there is still a fundamental lack of understanding of the largest and poorest segment of society, known as the base of the pyramid (BoP). Thus, this dissertation contributes to extend service research towards the BoP through a cross-disciplinary perspective that proposes new research streams, frameworks, and concepts that enrich the understanding of service in this complex context. The first article breaks new ground by connecting BoP research perspectives and Service Research Priorities to propose five new BoP Service Research Streams. These streams consider that people at the BoP are relevant service stakeholders with unique characteristics and needs. They suggest that this segment is a rich source of knowledge that can help advance service frameworks and concepts, while contributing to poverty alleviation. The second article is motivated by the fifth stream. It proposes a BoP Service Ecosystems Framework that has a broader social and institutional framing that helps maps the networks of actors and the institutional context that enable or constrain the service exchange. Thus, this article sheds light into the key role that actors’ social embeddedness, private resources, and informal institutions play in BoP service ecosystems. Finally, the third article introduces a sociological perspective to the BoP service ecosystems framework and introduces the concept of social capital to the framework. This highlights the value of social networks and social ties which connect all ecosystem actors together and allow access to valuable resources that enable the service exchange at the BoP.