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MNCs and micro-entrepreneurship in emerging economies: The case of Avon in the Amazon

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  • Chelekis, Jessica
  • Mudambi, Susan M.
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    Abstract

    This article examines the activities of multinational corporations (MNCs) in the direct sales industry through an ethnographic case study of micro-entrepreneurship in the Brazilian Amazon. In large emerging economies, intra-country heterogeneity poses challenges for MNCs. Because national trends often obscure regional variations, the case study highlights the realities of the rural Amazon, and the specific challenges and potential for MNCs. Findings from the case study support three propositions. The development of direct sales networks in remote areas facilitates: (1) additional entrepreneurship, and encourages a progression from necessity to opportunity entrepreneurship; (2) social change in gender norms, including higher level of female empowerment and decision-making within families and communities; and (3) a reconciliation of local and global values on beauty and fashion for customers, leading to stronger brand relationships. By leveraging micro-entrepreneurship, MNCs can compete with local firms, even in rural areas lacking basic infrastructure, to the benefit of communities and individuals.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 412-424

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:16:y:2010:i:4:p:412-424

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    Related research

    Keywords: Emerging economies Entrepreneurship Ethnography Direct selling Gender Base of the pyramid;

    References

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    1. Ted London & Stuart L Hart, 2004. "Reinventing strategies for emerging markets: beyond the transnational model," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(5), pages 350-370, September.
    2. Wade M Danis & Dan S Chiaburu & Marjorie A Lyles, 2010. "The impact of managerial networking intensity and market-based strategies on firm growth during institutional upheaval: A study of small and medium-sized enterprises in a transition economy," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(2), pages 287-307, February.
    3. S Tamer Cavusgil & Shaoming Zou & G M Naidu, 1993. "Product and Promoting Adaptation in Export Ventures: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 24(3), pages 479-506, September.
    4. David A Griffith & Salih Tamer Cavusgil & Shichun Xu, 2008. "Emerging themes in international business research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(7), pages 1220-1235, October.
    5. Petersen, Bent & Pedersen, Torben, 2002. "Coping with liability of foreignness: Different learning engagements of entrant firms," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 339-350.
    6. Theodosiou, Marios & Leonidou, Leonidas C., 2003. "Standardization versus adaptation of international marketing strategy: an integrative assessment of the empirical research," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 141-171, April.
    7. Saeed Samiee, 1994. "Customer Evaluation of Products in a Global Market," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(3), pages 579-604, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hill, T.L. & Mudambi, Ram, 2010. "Far from Silicon Valley: How emerging economies are re-shaping our understanding of global entrepreneurship," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 321-327, December.

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