Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Evolution of Service-Dominant Logic and It's Impact on Marketing Theory and Practice: A Review

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Evolution of Service-Dominant Logic and It's Impact on Marketing Theory and Practice: A Review

Article excerpt

The basis of the service-dominant (S-D) perspective has its genesis as a seminal article published in 2004 by Lusch and Vargo in the Journal of Marketing entitled "Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing." The article sparked a great deal of interest which led to considerable concurrence, debate, dialog, and inquiry. It generated so much interest that Ruth Bolton, editor of the Journal of Marketing requested, and published responses to the article by seven prominent marketing scholars (Day et al., 2004). This led these two authors to edit a book The Service-Dominant Logic of Marketing: Dialog, Debate and Directions (2006) which expanded the discussion to include 50 scholars.

Further discussion of the concept occurred at the Otago Forum on Service-Dominant Logic which was held in New Zealand in 2005 out of which Aitken, Ballantyne, Osborne, and Williams (2006) contributed to a special issue of Marketing Theory. A special issue of the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science which called for submissions on "new logics" for marketing primarily attracted articles on S-D logic, including a follow-up article by Vargo and Lusch (2008) titled "Service-dominant logic: continuing the evolution" which further refined, clarified and updated their seminal article's foundational premises (FP). The interest in S-D logic continued with a special issue of the Journal of Business Market Management (Vargo & Lusch, 2010) based on proceedings from a relationship marketing conference held in Berlin in 2009. Lusch and Vargo (2012, 2011) continue to evangelize the S-D movement proclaiming it has profound implications for development of theory and the advancement of both marketing science and marketing practice.

S-D logic and its FPs in some ways represent the convergence of several schools of relatively recent marketing thought, i.e., relationship marketing, marketing orientation, etc. The authors would like to begin with a brief primer on the development and the basic tenets of S-D logic in the context of the evolution of marketing thought.


Vargo and Lusch (2004) began their seminal article with an historical perspective of the evolution of management thought framed in the schools of thought as outlined in Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett's Marketing Theory Evolution and Evaluation (1988). This section will highlight the historical evolution of marketing thought which has led to the development of both G-D logic and S-D logic.

The Commodity, Functional, and Managerial Schools

In the early 1900s, the commodity school emerged and was grounded in classical economics (Marshall, 1927; Shaw, 1912; Smith, 1904). The commodity school (Sheth et al., 1988) focused on the exchange of commodities (Copeland, 1923), retailing, and other marketing organizations which created time, place, ownership, possession, and other utilities which facilitated exchange (Cherington, 1920; Nystrom, 1925). At about the same time, the functional school (Seth et al., 1988) which focused on activities that were needed to facilitate marketing transactions emerged. Shaw (1912) is credited with developing the first classification of marketing functions (Seth et al., 1988). Weld (1916) offered an alternative classification system. By the mid-thirties, Ryan (1935) researched and found that more than 52 different functions had been identified by various authors. Fullbrook (1940) was critical of the functional school which prompted an improved functional classification system by McGarry (1950). Seth et al., (1988) states the functional school was the impetus for the '4Ps' which were popularized by McCarthy (1960).

In the 1940s and 1950s, managerial economics, a new direction for economics, was forged by Joel Dean and William Baumol (Seth et al., 1988). Scholars of economics began to advocate a similar direction for the field of marketing. Following suit, "management" started to be used as an adjective with marketing and the marketing management school emerged. …

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