JMM Special Issue Call for Papers: Deadline for submissions has now passed

Digitally enabled value co-creation at the bottom of the pyramid

Guest Editors: Sanjit K. Roy, The University of Western Australia, Australia; Bidit L. Dey, Brunel University London, UK; Yogesh Dwivedi, Swansea University, UK

This special issue aims to push the frontiers of relevant theories and practices by showcasing empirical and conceptual papers on the inputs, processes and outcomes of digitally enabled value co-creation (VCC) at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP).

In the last decade research on co-creation has blossomed as a means of creating value for customers and firms (Balaji & Roy, 2017; Neghina, Bloemer, Van Birgelen & Caniëls, 2017). The concept remains at the root of both service-dominant logic (SDL) (Vargo & Lusch, 2016) and service logic (SL) (Grönroos, 2012). However, most of the research related to SDL and SL in the context of value co-creation focuses on developed economies, and scant research attention has gone into the dynamics of value co-creation in poor and disadvantaged communities in developing economies (Nahi, 2016), which may have different needs for, and nature of, consumption.

The BOP concept itself is a nascent area, although the concept and its marketing implications have gained currency in recent years (Ansari, Munir & Gregg, 2012; Kolk, Rivera-Santon & Rufin, 2014; Prahalad, 2004). While some scholars have expressed optimism regarding innovation and sustainability at the base of the economic hierarchy (Dey, Binsardi, Prendergast & Saren, 2013; Prahalad, 2012), scepticism and criticism have also been echoed in the marketing and management literature (Karnani, 2007). Attempts have also been taken to build theoretical scaffolding to define and characterise the market structure at BOP and develop appropriate marketing strategies to cater for the same (Viswanathan & Rosa, 2010).

The use of mobile telephony by BOP customers has been identified as a convincing case to demonstrate the viability and success of BOP marketing. Large telecommunication companies can potentially serve poor people profitably and enable them to enhance their quality of life (Rashid & Rahman, 2008). As such, the advent of smart technologies and various forms of Internet enabled services have opened up opportunities for further research to examine how sophisticated high-end technology can be adopted and used by poor communities and how such technology can contribute to their socio-economic well-being. Digital technology goes far beyond the realm of mobile telephony and smartphones and involves a wide range of products and services enabling consumers, small and large commercial enterprises and public bodies to interact, engage and collaborate (Dey, Babu, Rahman, Dora & Mishra, 2018). Therefore, digital technology can potentially facilitate value co-creation by connecting BOP markets with other stakeholders.

As discussed above, this special issue is built on three major theoretical pillars:
(1) Value co-creation, (2) BOP marketing, and (3) Adoption and use of digital technologies at BOP.

It can be argued that these concepts have significant scope for advancement and together they constitute an understudied field. The concept of value co-creation as some scholars argue is elusive and contested (Grönroos & Voima, 2013; Pfisterer & Roth, 2015; Ranjan & Read, 2016; Ravald & Grönroos, 1996) calling for further research in this area. Likewise, BOP marketing has transcended international marketing and has involved theories from the wider area of marketing and management research (Mason, Chakrabarti & Singh, 2017) creating scopes for further conceptual nourishment. While much research on BOP has paid attention to developing appropriate marketing strategies, there is a dearth in conceptualising market dynamics and consumer culture at the BOP. Digital consumer culture (consumers’ interaction and lifestyle relating to digital products and services) at BOP lacks conceptual understanding based on robust empirical data.

A handful of research has examined the role of VCC in developing business models to cater to the needs of BOP communities (Khalid, Seuring, Beske, Land, Yawar & Wagner, 2015). Some authors suggest VCC as a second generation strategy that can enhance the quality of the lives of poor and disadvantaged customers (London, Anupindi & Sheth, 2012). At the same time others oppose the need of VCC at BOP (Blowfield & Dolan, 2010; Sánchez & Ricart, 2010), questioning the feasibility of participative and co-creation activities in BOP markets. Hence, there is academic debate regarding the potentiality of BOP markets and how those can be harnessed through effective marketing strategies. Nevertheless, the billions of people living in the Global South constitute a huge market for various commercial and not for profit organisations. Their wellbeing is important for global and regional economic and social development. As such, further research on the BOP is imperative for academics and practitioners and can offer useful theoretical, managerial and policy implications.

We welcome conceptual, methodological, qualitative or quantitative contributions grounded in a range of perspectives that offer insights into the central thesis of this Special Issue. Papers considered for this Special Issue may focus on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Theorising the interplay between BOP market characteristics and dynamics with digital technologies and resulting outcomes.
  • The nature and characteristics of value co-creation at the BOP and how that can be facilitated/inhibited by digital technology.
  • Digital consumer culture at the BOP and its impact on value co-creation.
  • Consumer empowerment at the BOP through digital technology and how that impacts on VCC.
  • Value co-destruction at the BOP and how and to what extent that can be addressed by digital technology.
  • Analysis of factors contributing to digitally enabled value co-creation at the BOP.
  • Use of social media/smart/mobile financial services/digital healthcare facilities etc. at the BOP and their prospects and challenges.
  • Interaction between the BOP and other market segments through digital technologies and resulting impact on businesses and society.
  • Impact assessment of BOP marketing and how VCC can make a contribution.

Submission Requirements:
Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes). All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for the Journal of Marketing Management. These are available at:

Manuscripts should be submitted online using the Journal of Marketing Management ScholarOne Manuscripts site ( New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Authors should prepare and upload two versions of their manuscript.

One should be a complete text, while in the second all document information identifying the author should be removed from the files to allow them to be sent anonymously to referees. When uploading files authors will then be able to define the non-anonymous version as “Complete paper with author details”, and the anonymous version as “Main document minus author information”. To submit your manuscript to the Special Issue choose “Special Issue Article” from the Manuscript Type list when you come to submit your paper. Also, when you come to the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and select the Special Issue Title of Bottom of the Pyramid in the text field provided.

Informal queries regarding guest editors’ expectations or the suitability of specific research topics should be directed to the Special Issue Editors:

Dr Sanjit K. Roy:
Dr Bidit L. Dey:
Professor Yogesh K. Dwivedi:

The closing date for submissions is 31 March 2020.

Technical queries about submissions can be referred to the Editorial Office:


Ansari, S., Munir, K. & Gregg, T. (2012). Impact at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ the role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment. Journal of Management Studies, 49(4), 815-842.
Balaji, M. S., & Roy, S. K. (2017). Value co-creation with Internet of things technology in the retail industry. Journal of Marketing Management, 33(1-2), 7-31.
Blowfield, M., & Dolan, C. S. (2010). Fairtrade facts and fancies: What Kenyan fairtrade tea tells us about business’ role as development agent. Journal of Business Ethics. 93, 143-162.
Dey, B.L., Babu, M.M., Rahman, M., Dora, M. & Mishra, N. (2018). Technology upgrading through co-creation of value in developing societies: analysis of the mobile telephone industry in Bangladesh. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
Dey B., Binsardi A., Prendergast R., & Saren M. (2013). A qualitative enquiry into the appropriation of mobile telephony at the Bottom of the Pyramid. International Marketing Review, 30(4), 297-322.
Grönroos, C. (2012). Conceptualising value co-creation: a journey to the 1970s and back to the future. Journal of Marketing Management, 28(13/14), 1520-1534.
Grönroos, C. & Voima, P. (2013). Critical service logic: Making sense of value creation and co-creation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 133–150.
Khalid, R. U., Seuring, S., Beske, P., Land, A., Yawar, S. A. & Wagner, R. (2015). Putting sustainable supply chain management into base of the pyramid research. Supply Chain Management, 20, 681-696.
Karnani, A. (2007). The mirage of marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid: How the private sector can alleviate poverty. California Management Review, 49(4), 90-111.
Kolk, A., Rivera-Santon, M. & Rufin, C. (2014). Reviewing a Decade of Research on the “Base/Bottom of the Pyramid” (BOP) Concept. Business & Society, 53(3), 338 – 377.
London, T., Anupindi, R. & Sheth, S. (2010). Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers. Journal of Business Research, 63, 582-594.
Mason, K., Chakrabarti, R. & Singh, R. (2017). Markets and marketing at the bottom of the pyramid. Marketing Theory, 17(3), 261-270.
Nahi, T. (2016). Cocreation at the base of the pyramid: Reviewing and organizing the diverse conceptualizations. Organization & Environment, 29 (4), 416-437.
Neghina, C., Bloemer, J., van Birgelen, M. & Caniëls, M. C. (2017). Consumer motives and willingness to co-create in professional and generic services. Journal of Service Management, 28(1), 157-181.
Pfisterer, L. & Roth, S. (2015). Customer usage processes: a conceptualisation and differentiation. Marketing Theory, 15(3), 1-22.
Prahalad, C.K. (2004). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profit. Wharton School Publishing, NJ, USA.
Prahalad, C.K. (2012). Bottom of the Pyramid as a Source of Breakthrough Innovations. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29(1), 6-12.
Ranjan, K. R., & Read, S. (2016). Value co-creation: concept and measurement. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(3), 290-315.
Rashid, A.T. & Rahman, M. (2009). Making profit to solve development problems: the case of Telenor AS and the Village Phone Programme in Bangladesh. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(9), 1049-1060.
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Sánchez, P. & Ricart, J. E. (2010). Business model innovation and sources of value creation in low-income markets. European Management Review, 7, 138-154.
Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2016). Institutions and axioms: an extension and update of service-dominant logic. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(1), 5-23.
Viswanathan, M. & Rosa, J.A. (2010). Understanding Subsistence Marketplaces: Toward Sustainable Consumption and Commerce for a Better World. Journal of Business Research, 63(6), 535–537.

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