[Apologies for cross-posting]


*Asia & Poverty:*

*Closing the Great Divide through Entrepreneurship & Innovation*


*Special Issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management*


*Special issue conference will be held at Tongji University, Shanghai,
China, December 19–20, 2012.*


*A ten page paper proposal should be submitted by October 31, 2012 (see
submission process below)*


*Guest Editors*:*

*David Ahlstrom, The Chinese University of Hong Kong*

*Garry D. Bruton, Texas Christian University *

*Steven X. Si, Tongji University and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania *

Over the past two decades, many Asian economies have grown dramatically
with an average growth of about 8% per year throughout the region. This
dramatic economic growth has allowed large numbers of people to move out of
poverty. However, it is increasingly clear that while there has been
dramatic improvement in the overall rates of poverty in many nations in
Asia, there are large numbers of people still in poverty in spite of the
fast economic growth. For example, China continues to have over 300 million
people that live in severe poverty while India has over 600 million. The
large number of the severely poor people has increasingly been recognized
as an issue for both governments and for businesses throughout Asia.

Governments and businesses understand that for continued economic growth,
there needs to be political stability. For governments the presence of
large numbers of the severely poor whose lives do not seem to be able to
improve despite rapid economic growth offers a potential challenge to the
needed political stability. However, businesses increasingly also see the
large number of people in severe poverty are not only an issue for social
concern, but also as a potentially large untapped market of consumers for
goods and services. This ability to provide products to those desperately
poor may in fact be easiest for firms in Asia as they internationalize and
understand these markets. Asian multinational and entrepreneurial firms’
environmental setting includes such potential customers where major North
American and European firms typically have no major access or understanding
of this setting that is immediately at hand.

The recognition of the desperately poor as a potential market will not only
lead to  new sales for these firms but also offers a means to help those
individuals in desperate poverty to create assets and prosperity. As a
result, there is a fresh recognition that business in fact may offer the
greatest single potential means to move individuals out of poverty. The
generation of greater economic activity among the desperately poor may
provide the means for the poor to change their own lives rather than the
government or other groups doing for them. This has led to a focus by both
governments and businesses to seek to encourage greater economic activity
among the desperately poor. This activity includes not only business
seeking to enter these settings but governments also looking to support
other activities by non-profit organizations (NGOs) that generate business
among the poor.

Management scholars have been slow to identify and examine an array of
questions associated with the increasing entry of international business
into settings of desperate poverty and the actions of government to support
economic activity among the desperately poor. We believe that through
focused research, scholars can better understand businesses’ role in both
helping Asia to reduce poverty, and also generating profit for companies as
they reach out to serve these large untapped communities of consumers.

This *APJM *Special Issue seeks to provide a robust analysis of poverty and
business in the Asian context. We want to generate new insights on poverty
in the Asian context and how business can help to move people out of
desperate poverty. Overall, the editors’ belief is that as business helps
to generate greater economic activity in settings of severe poverty they
will help to solve poverty as individuals in severe poverty are able to
both generate greater incomes and accumulate greater assets as they
participate with those large firms in those activities. Thus, a rich range
of topics can be included in the special issue as we look at new and
innovative activities that help to address these issues.

For example, we hope to receive research that will expand the limited
research on major corporations serving the “bottom of the pyramid” or
“subsistence markets” and how firms create such innovative methods to serve
these markets. In addition, we are also interested in seeing articles that
address how bringing business skills and ideas to settings of severe
poverty can address the issues of poverty. There are also new technologies
that help to solve the issues of poverty such as cell-phone banking. How do
firms developing such technologies ensure that their products meet the
needs of very different customer than have been typically addressed? In
addition, how government policy can encourage more economic activity in
settings of severe poverty, micro lending by governmental and NGOs, and the
role of informal firms are also encouraged.

All else being equal, we encourage interdisciplinary teams to explore the
above issues and also encourage diversity of thinking to create the
path-breaking insights that we seek. Research questions of potential
interest for this special issue could include, but are not limited to:

1.   There are numerous enterprising individuals in Asia living in severe
poverty with innovative ideas but without sufficient access to financial
resources. What can be done to facilitate the transition of these
innovative ideas to generate business venture growth in Asia? What is the
role of microfinance in the effort to address this shortage of financial

2.   Many individuals in poverty form informal firms—firms that do not
conduct legal activities but which do not register with the government.
What is the nature of these firms? How does being an informal firm enable
or restrict the ability of such firms for both survival and growth.

3.   What is the role of networks and alliances by individuals in Asia
living in severe poverty as they seek to either found or grow a business?

4.   When firms seek to serve those that live in desperate poverty what are
the strategic actions of the business that generate the greatest success?
What are the ethical issues a firm must address as they seek to serve and
compete in this domain in Asia as they pursue those activities?

5.   What are the actions of governments that help to generate the greatest
success as firms both seek to address issues of poverty and to serve and
compete in markets characterized by desperate poverty?

6.   What alliances between for-profit firms and NGOs help to generate the
greatest reduction in poverty? In such alliances, what are the factors that
generate the greatest success for business?

7.   How do the issues of poverty and business differ across Asia?
Particularly, as we consider the two largest economies in the region, China
and India, what are the substantive differences of how business competes to
serve the desperate poor in these two markets?

8.   How do the innovation processes of firms differ as they seek to
address those living at the bottom of the pyramid? Are Asian firms that
come from these settings able to develop unique or more appropriate
solutions than are firms from richer countries?

*Submission Process*

* *

The submission process for this special issue shall be different than those
typically pursued by *APJM*. Individuals are encouraged to submit a
proposal to the special issue conference prior to submission of the article
to the journal. This proposal should be 10 pages in length and submitted by
October 31, 2012. Those proposals found to be relevant to the special issue
will be asked to make a short presentation of their proposal to a
conference focused on the special issue.

The special issue conference will be held at Tongji University in Shanghai,
China, December 19–20, 2012. Proposals will receive brief comments at the
conference. From the larger set of proposals presented, a smaller subset of
papers will be encouraged to be submitted to the special issue. This subset
will receive more extensive comments from the editors on how the paper
should be developed for submission to the special issue.

The papers in this subset of selected proposals will be sent out for peer
review. While those who cannot attend the proposal conference may submit to
the special issue, authors are strongly encouraged to participate in this
conference and the proposal system that is established. The submission of
papers for the special issue is May 20, 2013. The expected publication date
is 2014.

* For questions regarding the conference and the special issue and the
submission, please contact the guest editors: Garry Bruton [log in to unmask],
David Ahlstrom [log in to unmask], and/or Steven Si
[log in to unmask]

AIB-L is brought to you by the Academy of International Business.
For information:
To post message: [log in to unmask]
For assistance:  [log in to unmask]
AIB-L is a moderated list.