SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Roll, Kate, Dolan, Catherine and Rajak, Dinah (2021) 'Remote (dis)engagement: Shifting Corporate Risk to the 'Bottom of the Pyramid'.' Development and Change, 52 (4). pp. 878-901.

[img]
Preview
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (198kB) | Preview
[img] Text - Draft Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Request a copy

Abstract

Untapped markets are often deemed institutional voids, terra incognita ripe with economic possibility. The conversion of institutional voids into viable markets has become the ambition of many corporations today, who view marginal and underserved areas such as urban slums as opportunities to achieve the dual aims of market growth and poverty reduction, particularly through ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BoP) programmes. This paper examines how firms manage institutional voids and the consequences of these approaches for workers through a case study of Project Insansa, a BoP route to market (RTM) programme designed by the global food manufacturer Food Co., in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, located in Nairobi. When entering Kibera, Food Co. did not seek to bridge institutional voids or design strategies to understand the dynamics of informal markets in greater detail. Instead, the company pursued a different approach: outsourcing the management of risk and knowledge of these areas to others, specifically to existing organisations, social networks, and individuals within these spaces, a strategy we term ‘remote (dis)engagement.’ The paper describes the logics and outcome of this approach, concluding that Project Insansa’s business model depends on ‘gig practices’ of flexibility, irregular work and insecurity to realise the much-heralded ‘fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’ (Prahalad 2005).

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: labour, risk, bottom of the pyramid, corporations
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 0012155X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12669
Date Deposited: 24 May 2021 16:50
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/35169
Funders: Other

Altmetric Data

Statistics

Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
24Downloads
50Hits
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item