Reducing Global Poverty: Building the Business Case

By Alfred Rosenbloom and RuthAnn Althaus.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Global poverty reduction efforts are not new, yet multinational companies have been generally absent from such efforts. When multinational companies do participate in poverty alleviation activities, they have tended to do so through philanthropy. This paper presents a strong business rationale - more commonly termed “the business case” - for the multinational corporation’s involvement in poverty reduction as a corollary to a core business strategy. The paper proposes that the business case is the most compelling and the most effective means for engaging multinational corporations in the challenge of global poverty reduction. Building on the work of C.K. Prahalad on marketing to bottom-of-the pyramid consumers, the paper is divided into two sections. The first section reviews the converging forces that have made poverty reduction not only a pressing global issue but also a pressing business issue. The paper’s second and main looks at what multinational corporations have to gain by participating in poverty alleviation. In this section, we define the business case and develop the theoretical linkages between the multinational company’s core business and the business case. The paper further contends that an expanded understanding of sustainability to include economic, social and environmental components strengthens the business case.

Keywords: Poor as Consumers, Poverty Reduction, International Business Enterprises, Social Responsibility of Business, Business Case, Bottom of the Pyramid

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.417-424. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 514.580KB).

Alfred Rosenbloom

Associate Professor, Graham School of Business, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Alfred Rosenbloom teaches international business and international marketing at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Rosenbloom holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University, Chicago, and has research interests that include student case writing, international marketing in the context of countries with developing economies and in marketing to base-of-the-pyramid consumers. Dr. Rosenbloom has twice been a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and has taught in Nepal and Bulgaria.

Dr. RuthAnn Althaus

Professor, Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

RuthAnn Althaus, in addition to Ph.D., MPH, MBA, MSLIS degrees, also has Certificates of Advanced Study in international business from American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and University of Hawaii. Dr. Althaus' research interests include comparative health systems, US health system financing and organization, ethical issues in health administration and in business, and the role of multinational business in socioeconomic progress in developing countries.

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