ABSTRACT

As the world’s economic and political landscape changes, significantly more emphasis is being placed on understanding the unique opportunities and constraints of emerging markets. The number of multinational companies (MNCs) moving into these markets has sharply increased in many sectors, and the number of MNCs arising from them has nearly tripled in the last two decades (Chang, Wilkinson and Mellahi 2007). Unique approaches are necessary to understand and pursue the opportunities and challenges of these markets: responding to consumers and enabling nascent entrepreneurs who live at or near subsistence and who comprise a majority of the world’s population. Today, three billion people live on less than two dollars a day. To survive, a large percentage of them, including those in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), operate informal microbusinesses. A majority of them, however, do not have the tools needed to succeed beyond more than subsistence. Current management theory and practice, optimised for the developed world, often fails to provide governments, people and organisations with satisfactory guidance in the context of radical scarcity and traditional societies under rapid transformation (De Soto 2000; Yunus 2007).