The influence of institutional environment in the execution of complex projects for accessing the base of the pyramid: a case study of brazilian utilities services organizations

Flavio Jorge Freire D Andrade Battistuzzo, Mario Henrique Ogasavara, Marcos Piscopo


World population shall reach 9 billion by the end of 2050 (United Nations DESA, 2014). The demand for basic services like energy, water and sanitation will increase, particularly for those at the base of pyramid. The challenge for the utilities services organizations in Brazil is how to deal with an ever-changing institutional environment in order to fulfill its social objective in an operational and economic efficiency. Organizations will have to innovate in their strategies to access the base of the pyramid, as they are different from developed market. These innovations will be implemented through projects. Understand the complexities of these projects is fundamental for the strategies’ implementation. This research answered the question “How does the participation of the State in utilities services organizations impact the execution of complex projects created to serve the base of pyramid markets?”. It is based on a multiple case study, with a qualitative and exploratory nature. Two utilities service organizations were selected and data collected based on semi-structured interviews. A software was used for content analysis to analyze the propositions of this study. Complexities dimensions for project execution were identified, the State influence on these projects and organizational strategies. This research contributes to a better understanding of the variants of the institutional elements with an impact on the organizational strategies. It reveals the need for a better understanding and definition of specific business model to attack the market opportunities at the base of pyramid. Our findings may be used by organizations to establish specific strategies for this market.


Strategies; Complex Projects; Base of the Pyramid; Institutional Environment; Project Management.

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