The Logical Structure of the Service-Dominant (S-D) Logic of Marketing

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Marketing Theory
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The logical structure of the service-dominant logic of marketing John Williams
Marketing Theory 2012 12: 471
DOI: 10.1177/1470593112457745
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Article

The logical structure of
the service-dominant
logic of marketing

Marketing Theory
12(4) 471–483
ª The Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
DOI: 10.1177/1470593112457745
mtq.sagepub.com

John Williams
University of Otago, New Zealand

Abstract
The Service-dominant (S-D) logic of marketing is currently comprised of ten foundational premises (FPs). The original statements of eight FPs have since been reworded and two additional FPs have been added. The proposers of S-D logic, Steven Vargo and Robert Lusch, have stated that S-D logic is neither complete nor owned by them: it is ‘Open Source’. However, despite the many articles that have been published on S-D logic, it seems that many scholars do not fully understand the fundamental ideas that underpin the logic. In particular, perusal of the FPs leaves many scholars confused. This is probably for two reasons: (1) the ideas are unfamiliar; (2) there are so many of them. Hence the purposes of this paper are to explain briefly the unfamiliar ideas, and, more importantly, to reduce the complexity of S-D logic by explicitly analysing the ontological content of the FPs and the logical structure of relationships between the FPs, as premises (or axioms) and conclusions or corollaries. The outcome of this analysis is that the core, essential, FPs are identified, as well as some gaps. In particular it seems clear that only two of the FPs are fundamental, or axiomatic: that service is the fundamental basis of exchange, and that value is co-created (by beneficiary and service-provider) Keywords

Co-creation of value, foundational premises, logic, resources, S-D logic, service, value

Introduction
The Service-dominant (S-D) logic of marketing, since its first appearance in 2004, has been the subject of numerous scholarly articles, conference sessions, entire conferences worldwide and one book (Lusch and Vargo, 2006b). The key features of S-D logic are the assertion that in all economic exchange service is exchanged for service, and an emphasis on the concept of the

Corresponding author:
John Williams, Department of Marketing, University of Otago, P. O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9010, New Zealand. Email: john.williams@otago.ac.nz

Downloaded from mtq.sagepub.com at ULB Bibliot des Sciences Hum on February 14, 2013

472

Marketing Theory 12(4)

co-creation of value. The originators of S-D logic, Stephen Vargo and Robert Lusch, hope that it will become the foundation for a general theory of markets and marketing (Lusch and Vargo, 2006a).
However, after several years of scholarly development of S-D logic in the form of academic articles, books and conferences, there still seems to be some confusion regarding what S-D logic actually is, and more importantly, its status as an intellectual device: a theory, a model, a paradigm or a ‘pre-paradigmatic lens’ (Vargo, 2007b: 105). This may not be surprising, since there has been so much written on the topic, and the conception of S-D logic has changed somewhat since the publication of the original article (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). To examine that article and then...
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