C. K. Prahalad

CK Prahalad ( Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad, born August 8, 1941 in Coimbatore, India, † April 16, 2010 in San Diego, USA ) was an Indian- American economist. Most recently he worked as a professor of corporate strategy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA, and a world-renowned management consultant and author.

His scientific focus in the field of development of new management practices, corporate strategy and the role of corporate governance in multinational companies. His most recent work, among others, in connection with the by Stuart Hart coined by him the concept of " Base of the Pyramid " (or " Bottom of the Pyramid " ) with emerging markets, and innovative business models for the elimination of global poverty.

He was the founder of the " Supporters dilemma " paradigm.


CK Prahalad grew up among eight siblings, the son of a Sanskrit scholar and judge in the then Madras (now Chennai) on. At the age of 19 he was hired by the local Union Carbide factory and worked there for the next four years. During this time he met his future wife, Gayatri, whom he married five years later and with whom he has two children.

Following his time at Union Carbide, he studied for five years at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ( IIMA ). Together with his wife he then went to Harvard University, where he completed his doctorate in the field of multinational team successfully completed within two and a half years. He then taught for a short time at IIMA, but returned to the United States back to accept a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan.

Prahalad is primarily for his work in the field of corporate strategy known especially for the development of the concept of core competence in collaboration with Gary Hamel. Towards the end of the 90s taught Prahalad its research activities on the fight against poverty through the creation of profitable work for the people (English: bottom of the pyramid ) at the foot of the pyramid live, using innovative technologies and methods.

Prahalad was considered in surveys as one of the key researchers in the field of management. So he called the American magazine BusinessWeek as brilliant teacher [ ... ] and probably the most influential thinkers in the field of business strategy. In 2009 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award, awarded.

Prahalad died on April 16, 2010 in San Diego after a brief illness at a respiratory disease.


  • Gary Hamel: The Core Competence of the Corporation, Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1990 ( e-book available here )
  • Gary Hamel: Competing for the Future, 1994, Harvard Business School Press ISBN 0-87584-416-2 ( German edition: Competing for the Future, 2nd edition 1997 About Reuther economy, ISBN 3-8323-0318-9 )
  • Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Wharton School Publishing 2004, ISBN 0-13-186319-3 ( German edition: The wealth of the Third World How can we end poverty with profits, financial accounting, 2006, ISBN. 3-89879-146-7 )