This project will examine how multinational enterprises (MNEs) are devising new ways to access market intelligence by forging alliances with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and it will conduct case studies of organizational innovation in emerging economies. In particular, the project will focus on the emerging phenomenon of research and development (R&D) alliances between MNEs and NGOs , and it will analyze the significance of global corporate R&D activities in five metropolitan areas in India. In understanding the process and organizational dynamics of innovative activities that target "base-of-the-pyramid" (BOP) markets, the investigators will develop a new conceptual framework that explicitly recognizes innovation as interactions between technological knowledge and market intelligence. Furthermore, the new role of NGOs as partners in innovation demands a broader understanding of their role in shaping the behavior of MNEs. How MNEs and NGOs co-innovate, co-develop, and nurture knowledge assets in spite of competing incentive structures, institutional objectives, and organizational cultures requires new solutions to multi-dimensional coordination problems and different conceptual frameworks for new forms of market governance. The investigators will adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to analyze the newly emerging governance form of innovation. Primary tasks will include a questionnaire survey of foreign MNEs with R&D activities in India, interviews of foreign MNEs in India with a BOP-orientation, interviews of NGOs in India collaborating with MNEs, and interviews with executives based in the United States with knowledge of MNEs' global R&D operations. The project will combine the multi-stakeholder approach with institutional-evolutionary framework as well as comparative analysis to triangulate the qualitative evidence.
Through scholarly publications, case books developed for both MNEs and NGOs, and a two day symposium at International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore, India (IITB), the project will provide basic new knowledge regarding the roles and expectations of the various stakeholders involved in base-of-the-pyramid initiatives. Through this international collaborative effort between institutions in the U.S. and India, the project will foster an intellectual dialog among academics in the two countries on the involvement of global forces in shaping the future of the Indian economy as well as the economies of other developing nations.