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Thought Piece: Tribal communities: A case for building a sustainable business ecosystem

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Saurabh BhattacharyaORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Westburn Publishers Ltd, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Tribal communities, also referred to as indigenous peoples, have existed alongside mainstream society for centuries. Excluded from mainstream society, they have been plagued with problems of land ownership, inhospitable lifestyles, and poor health conditions. Despite these limitations, tribal communities are capable of contributing to the creation of a sustainable business ecosystem. In addition to the nonprofit and non-governmental organizations that primarily work toward tribal welfare, for-profit organizations should prioritize inclusion of tribal communities. This is not only a social responsibility, but a business necessity as well, since making tribal communities’ part of the business ecosystem can benefit both profit-making organizations and tribal communities. Through this article, using multiple cases, we elaborate on how tribes globally can add value to both the business community and themselves, when considered part of the business ecosystem. We assert that tribal communities can create shared value on four levels: firm, industry, country, and societal levels. Tribal communities may do so by (a) leveraging their core competencies of forest management, (b) displaying their culture through tribal tourism, (c) enhancing capabilities in handicrafts, which are of national importance to certain economies, and (d) deriving the benefits of being considered part of mainstream society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Agnihotri A, Bhattacharya S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social Business

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Issue: 2

Pages: 127-139

Print publication date: 01/06/2019

Acceptance date: 28/12/2018

Date deposited: 03/03/2019

ISSN (print): 2044-4087

ISSN (electronic): 2044-9860

Publisher: Westburn Publishers Ltd


DOI: 10.1362/204440819X15504844628119


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