Stephen L. Vargo & Robert F. Lusch Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing Marketing inherited a model of exchange from economics, which had a dominant logic based on the exchange of “goods,” which usually are manufactured output. The dominant logic focused on tangible resources, embedded value, and transactions. Over the past several decades, new perspectives have emerged that have a revised logic focused on intangible resources, the cocreation of value, and relationships.
The authors believe that the new perspectives are converging to form a new dominant logic for marketing, one in which service provision rather than goods is fundamental to economic exchange. The authors explore this evolving logic and the corresponding shift in perspective for marketing scholars, marketing practitioners, and marketing educators. T he formal study of marketing focused at first on the distribution and exchange of commodities and manufactured products and featured a foundation in economics (Marshall 1927; Shaw 1912; Smith 1904).
The first marketing scholars directed their attention toward commodities exchange (Copeland 1920), the marketing institutions that made goods available and arranged for possession (Nystrom 1915; Weld 1916), and the functions that needed to be performed to facilitate the exchange of goods through marketing institutions (Cherington 1920; Weld 1917). By the early 1950s, the functional school began to morph into the marketing management school, which was characterized by a decision-making approach to managing the marketing functions and an overarching focus on the customer (Drucker 1954; Levitt 1960; McKitterick 1957).
McCarthy (1960) and Kotler (1967) characterized marketing as a decision-making activity directed at satisfying the customer at a profit by targeting a market and then making optimal decisions on the marketing mix, or the “4 P’s. ” The fundamental foundation and the tie to the standard economic model continued to be strong. The leading marketing management textbook in the 1970s (Kotler 1972, p. 42, emphasis in original) stated that “marketing management seeks to determine the settings of the company’s arketing decision variables that will maximize the company’s objective(s) in the light of the expected behavior of noncontrollable demand variables. ” Beginning in the 1980s, many new frames of reference that were not based on the 4 P’s and were largely independent of the standard microeconomic paradigm began to emerge. What appeared to be separate lines of thought surStephen L. Vargo is Visiting Professor of Marketing, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland (e-mail: [email protected] md. edu). Robert F. Lusch is Dean and Distinguished University Professor, M. J. Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University, and Professor of Marketing (on leave), Eller College of Business and Public Administration, University of Arizona (e-mail: r. [email protected] edu). The authors contributed equally to this manuscript. The authors thank the anonymous JM reviewers and Shelby Hunt, Gene Laczniak, Alan Malter, Fred Morgan, and Matthew O’Brien for comments on various drafts of this manuscript. aced in relationship marketing, quality management, market orientation, supply and value chain management, resource management, and networks. Perhaps most notable was the emergence of services marketing as a subdiscipline, following scholars’ challenges to “break free” (Shostack 1977) from product marketing and recognize the inadequacies of the dominant logic for dealing with services marketing’s subject matter (Dixon 1990). Many scholars believed that marketing thought was becoming more fragmented. On the surface, this appeared to be a reasonable characterization. In the early 1990s, Webster (1992, p. ) argued, “The historical marketing management function, based on the microeconomic maximization paradigm, must be critically examined for its relevance to marketing theory and practice. ” At the end of the twentieth century, Day and Montgomery (1999, p. 3) suggested that “with growing reservation about the validity or usefulness of the Four P’s concept and its lack of recognition of marketing as an innovating or adaptive force, the Four P’s now are regarded as merely a handy framework. ” At the same time, advocating a network perspective, Achrol and Kotler (1999, p. 62) stated, “The very nature of network organization, the kinds of theories useful to its understanding, and the potential impact on the organization of consumption all suggest that a paradigm shift for marketing may not be far over the horizon. ” Sheth and Parvatiyar (2000, p. 140) suggested that “an alternative paradigm of marketing is needed, a paradigm that can account for the continuous nature of relationships among marketing actors. ” They went as far as stating (p. 140) that the marketing discipline “give up the sacred cow of exchange theory. Other scholars, such as Rust (1998), called for convergence among seemingly divergent views. Fragmented thought, questions about the future of marketing, calls for a paradigm shift, and controversy over services marketing being a distinct area of study—are these calls for alarm? Perhaps marketing thought is not so much fragmented as it is evolving toward a new dominant logic. Increasingly, marketing has shifted much of its dominant logic away from the exchange of tangible goods (manufactured things) and toward the exchange of intangibles, spe- Journal of Marketing Vol. 68 (January 2004), 1–17 A New Dominant Logic / 1 ialized skills and knowledge, and processes (doing things for and with), which we believe points marketing toward a more comprehensive and inclusive dominant logic, one that integrates goods with services and provides a richer foundation for the development of marketing thought and practice. Rust (1998, p. 107) underscores the importance of such an integrative view of goods and services: “[T]he typical service research article documented ways in which services were different from goods. … It is time for a change. Service research is not a niche field characterized by arcane points of difference with the dominant goods management field. The dominant, goods-centered view of marketing not only may hinder a full appreciation for the role of services but also may partially block a complete understanding of marketing in general (see, e. g. , Gronroos 1994; Kotler 1997; Normann and Ramirez 1993; Schlesinger and Heskett 1991). For example, Gummesson (1995, pp. 250–51, emphasis added) states the following: Customers do not buy goods or services: [T]hey buy offerings which render services which create value. … The traditional division between goods and services is long outdated.
It is not a matter of redefining services and seeing them from a customer perspective; activities render services, things render services. The shift in focus to services is a shift from the means and the producer perspective to the utilization and the customer perspective. A Fundamental Shift in Worldview To unravel the changing worldview of marketing or its dominant logic, we must see into, through, and beyond the extant marketing literature. A worldview or dominant logic is never clearly stated but more or less seeps into the individual and collective mind-set of scientists in a discipline.
Predictably, this requires viewing the world at a highly abstract level. We begin our discussion with the work of Thomas Malthus. In his analysis of world resources, Thomas Malthus (1798) concluded that with continued geometric population growth, society would soon run out of resources. In a Malthusian world, “resources” means natural resources that humans draw on for support. Resources are essentially “stuff” that is static and to be captured for advantage. In Malthus’s time, much of the political and economic activity involved individual people, organizations, and nations working toward and struggling and fighting over acquiring this stuff.
Over the past 50 years, resources have come to be viewed not only as stuff but also as intangible and dynamic functions of human ingenuity and appraisal, and thus they are not static or fixed. Everything is neutral (or perhaps even a resistance) until humankind learns what to do with it (Zimmerman 1951). Essentially, resources are not; they become. As we discuss, this change in perspective on resources helps provide a framework for viewing the new dominant logic of marketing.
Constantin and Lusch (1994) define operand resources as resources on which an operation or act is performed to produce an effect, and they compare operand resources with operant resources, which are employed to act on operand resources (and other operant recourses). During most of civilization, human activity has been concerned largely with acting on the land, animal life, plant life, minerals, and other natural resources. Because these resources are finite, nations, clans, tribes, or other groups that possessed natural resources were considered wealthy.
A goods-centered dominant logic developed in which the operand resources were considered primary. A firm (or nation) had factors of production (largely operand resources) and a technology (an operant resource), which had value to the extent that the firm could convert its operand resources into outputs at a low cost. Customers, like resources, became something to be captured or acted on, as English vocabulary would eventually suggest; we “segment” the market, “penetrate” the market, and “promote to” the market all in hope of attracting customers. Share of operand resources and share of (an operand) market was the key to success.
Operant resources are resources that produce effects (Constantin and Lusch 1994). The relative role of operant resources began to shift in the late twentieth century as humans began to realize that skills and knowledge were the most important types of resources. Zimmermann (1951) and Penrose (1959) were two of the first economists to recognize the shifting role and view of resources. As Hunt (2000, p. 75) observes, Penrose did not use the popular term “factor of production” but rather used the term “collection of productive resources. ” Penrose suggested (pp. 24–25; emphasis in original) that “it is never resources themselves that are the
The purpose of this article is to illuminate the evolution of marketing thought toward a new dominant logic. A summary of this evolution over the past 100 years is provided in Table 1 and Figure 1. Briefly, marketing has moved from a goods-dominant view, in which tangible output and discrete transactions were central, to a service-dominant view, in which intangibility, exchange processes, and relationships are central. It is worthwhile to note that the service-centered view should not be equated with (1) the restricted, traditional conceptualizations that often treat services as a residual (that which is not a tangible good; e. . , Rathmell 1966); (2) something offered to enhance a good (value-added services); or (3) what have become classified as services industries, such as health care, government, and education. Rather, we define services as the application of specialized competences (knowledge and skills) through deeds, processes, and performances for the benefit of another entity or the entity itself. Although our definition is compatible with narrower, more traditional definitions, we argue that it is more inclusive and that it captures the fundamental function of all business enterprises. Thus, the service-centered dominant logic represents a reoriented philosophy that is applicable to all marketing offerings, including those that involve tangible output (goods) in the process of service provision. 1Typical traditional definitions include those of Lovelock (1991, p. 13), “services are deeds, processes, and performances”; Solomon and colleagues (1985, p. 106), “services marketing refers to the marketing of activities and processes rather than objects”; and Zeithaml and Bitner (2000), “services are deeds, processes, and performances. For a definition consistent with the one we adopt here, see Gronroos (2000). 2 / Journal of Marketing, January 2004 TABLE 1 Schools of Thought and Their Influence on Marketing Theory and Practice Timeline and Stream of Literature 1800–1920: Classical and Neoclassical Economics Marshall (1890); Say (1821); Shaw (1912); Smith (1776) Fundamental Ideas or Propositions Economics became the first social science to reach the quantitative sophistication of the natural sciences.
Value is embedded in matter through manufacturing (value-added, utility, value in exchange); goods come to be viewed as standardized output (commodities). Wealth in society is created by the acquisition of tangible “stuff. ” Marketing as matter in motion. Early marketing thought was highly descriptive of commodities, institutions, and marketing functions: commodity school (characteristics of goods), institutional school (role of marketing institutions in value-embedding process), and functional school (functions that marketers perform).
A major focus was on the transaction or output and how institutions performing marketing functions added value to commodities. Marketing primarily provided time and place utility, and a major goal was possession utility (creating a transfer of title and/or sale). However, a focus on functions is the beginning of the recognition of operant resources. Firms can use analytical techniques (largely from microeconomics) to try to define marketing mix for optimal firm performance. Value “determined” in marketplace; “embedded” value must have usefulness.
Customers do not buy things but need or want fulfillment. Everyone in the firm must be focused on the customer because the firm’s only purpose is to create a satisfied customer. Identification of the functional responses to the changing environment that provide competitive advantage through differentiation begins to shift toward value in use. A dominant logic begins to emerge that largely views marketing as a continuous social and economic process in which operant resources are paramount.
This logic views financial results not as an end result but as a test of a market hypothesis about a value proposition. The marketplace can falsify market hypotheses, which enables entities to learn about their actions and find ways to better serve their customers and to improve financial performance. This paradigm begins to unify disparate literature streams in major areas such as customer and market orientation, services marketing, relationship marketing, quality management, value and supply chain management, resource management, and network analysis.
The foundational premises of the emerging paradigm are (1) skills and knowledge are the fundamental unit of exchange, (2) indirect exchange masks the fundamental unit of exchange, (3) goods are distribution mechanisms for service provision, (4) knowledge is the fundamental source of competitive advantage, (5) all economies are services economies, (6) the customer is always a coproducer, (7) the enterprise can only make value propositions, and (8) a service-centered view is inherently customer oriented and relational. 900–1950: Early/Formative Marketing •Commodities (Copeland 1923) •Institutions (Nystrom 1915; Weld 1916) •Functional (Cherington 1920; Weld 1917) 1950–1980: Marketing Management •Business should be customer focused (Drucker 1954; McKitterick 1957) •Value “determined” in marketplace (Levitt 1960) •Marketing is a decision-making and problemsolving function (Kotler 1967; McCarthy 1960) 980–2000 and Forward: Marketing as a Social and Economic Process •Market orientation (Kohli and Jaworski 1990; Narver and Slater 1990) •Services marketing (Gronroos 1984; Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry 1985) •Relationship marketing (Berry 1983; Duncan and Moriarty 1998; Gummesson 1994, 2002; Sheth and Parvatiyar 2000) •Quality management (Hauser and Clausing 1988; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988) •Value and supply chain management (Normann and Ramirez 1993; Srivastava, Shervani, and Fahey 1999) •Resource management (Constantin and Lusch 1994; Day 1994; Dickson 1992; Hunt 2000; Hunt and Morgan 1995) •Network analysis (Achrol 1991;
Achrol and Kotler 1999; Webster 1992) ‘inputs’ to the production process, but only the services that the resources can render. ” Operant resources are often invisible and intangible; often they are core competences or organizational processes. They are likely to be dynamic and infinite and not static and finite, as is usually the case with operand resources. Because operant resources produce effects, they enable humans both to multiply the value of natural resources and to create additional operant resources.
A well-known illustration of operant resources is the microprocessor: Human ingenuity and skills took one of the most plentiful natural resources on Earth (silica) and embedded it with knowledge. As Copeland (qtd. in Gilder 1984) has observed, in the end the microprocessor is pure idea. As we noted previously, resources are not; they become (Zimmermann 1951). The service-centered dominant logic perceives operant resources as primary, because they are the producers of effects.
This shift in the primacy of resources has implications for how exchange processes, markets, and customers are perceived and approached. A New Dominant Logic / 3 4 / Journal of Marketing, January 2004 FIGURE 1 Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing Pre-1900 Goods-Centered Model of Exchange (Concepts: tangibles, statics, discrete transactions, and operand resources) Thought leaders in marketing continually move away from tangible output with embedded value in which the focus was on activities directed at discrete or static transactions.
In turn, they move toward dynamic exchange relationships that involve performing processes and exchanging skills and/or services in which value is cocreated with the consumer. The worldview changes from a focus on resources on which an operation or act is performed (operand resources) to resources that produce effects (operant resources) . Twenty-first Century Service-Centered Model of Exchange (Concepts: intangibles, competences, dynamics, exchange processes and relationships, and operant resources)
Classical and Neoclassical Economics (1800–1920) Formative Marketing Thought (Descriptive: 1900–1950) •Commodities •Marketing institutions •Marketing functions Marketing Management School of Thought (1950–2000) •Customer orientation and marketing concept •Value determined in marketplace •Manage marketing functions to achieve optimal output •Marketing science emerges and emphasizes use of optimization techniques Marketing as a Social and Economic Process (Emerging Paradigm: 1980–2000 and forward) •Market orientation processes •Services marketing processes •Relationship marketing processes •Quality management processes •Value and supply management processes •Resource management and competitive processes •Network management processes Goods Versus Services: Rethinking the Orientation Viewed in its traditional sense, marketing focuses largely on operand resources, primarily goods, as the unit of exchange. In its most rudimentary form, the goods-centered view postulates the following: 1.
The purpose of economic activity is to make and distribute things that can be sold. 2. To be sold, these things must be embedded with utility and value during the production and distribution processes and must offer to the consumer superior value in relation to competitors’ offerings. 3. The firm should set all decision variables at a level that enables it to maximize the profit from the sale of output. 4. For both maximum production control and efficiency, the good should be standardized and produced away from the market. 5. The good can then be inventoried until it is demanded and then delivered to the consumer at a profit. marketing literature.
If marketing is the process that adds properties to matter, then it can not contribute to the production of “immaterial goods. ” Because early marketing thought was concerned with agricultural products and then with other physical goods, it was compatible with this rudimentary view. Before 1960, marketing was viewed as a transfer of ownership of goods and their physical distribution (Savitt 1990); it was viewed as the “application of motion to matter” (Shaw 1912, p. 764). The marketing literature rarely mentioned “immaterial products” or “services,” and when it did, it mentioned them only as “aids to the production and marketing of goods” (Converse 1921, p. vi; see Fisk, Brown, and Bitner 1993).
An early fragmentation in the marketing literature occurred when Shostack (1977, p. 73) noted, “The classical ‘marketing mix,’ the seminal literature, and the language of marketing all derive from the manufacture of physical-goods. ” Marketing inherited the view that value (utility) was embedded in a product from economics. One of the first debates in the fledgling discipline of marketing centered on the question, If value was something added to goods, did marketing contribute to value? Shaw (1912, p. 12; see also Shaw 1994) argued that “Industry is concerned with the application of motion to matter to change its form and place. The change in form we term production; the change in place, distribution. Weld (1916) more formally defined marketing’s role in production as the creation of the time, place, and possession utilities, which is the classification found in current marketing literature. The general concept of utility has been broadly accepted in marketing, but its meaning has been interpreted differently. For example, discussing Beckman’s (1957) and Alderson’s (1957) treatments of utility, Dixon (1990, pp. 337–38, emphasis in original) argues that “each writer uses a different concept of value. Beckman is arguing in terms of valuein-exchange, basing his calculation on value-added, upon ‘the selling value’ of products…. Alderson is reasoning in terms of value-in-use. ” Drawing on Cox (1965), Dixon (1990, p. 42) believes the following: The “conventional view” of marketing as adding properties to matter caused a problem for Alderson and “makes more difficult a disinterested evaluation of what marketing is and does” (Cox 1965). This view also underlies the dissatisfaction with marketing theory that led to the services Alderson (1957, p. 69) advised, “What is needed is not an interpretation of the utility created by marketing, but a marketing interpretation of the whole process of creating utility. ” Dixon (1990, p. 342) suggests that “the task of responding to Alderson’s challenge remains. ” The service-centered view of marketing implies that marketing is a continuous series of social and economic processes that is largely focused on operant resources with which the firm is constantly striving to make better value propositions than its competitors.
In a free enterprise system, the firm primarily knows whether it is making better value propositions from the feedback it receives from the marketplace in terms of firm financial performance. Because firms can always do better at serving customers and improving financial performance, the service-centered view of marketing perceives marketing as a continuous learning process (directed at improving operant resources). The service-centered view can be stated as follows: 1. Identify or develop core competences, the fundamental knowledge and skills of an economic entity that represent potential competitive advantage. 2. Identify other entities (potential customers) that could benefit from these competences. 3.
Cultivate relationships that involve the customers in developing customized, competitively compelling value propositions to meet specific needs. 4. Gauge marketplace feedback by analyzing financial performance from exchange to learn how to improve the firm’s offering to customers and improve firm performance. This view is grounded in and largely consistent with resource advantage theory (Conner and Prahalad 1996; Hunt 2000; Srivastava, Fahey, and Christensen 2001) and core competency theory (Day 1994; Prahalad and Hamel 1990). Core competences are not physical assets but intangible processes; they are “bundles of skills and technologies” (Hamel and Prahalad 1994, p. 02) and are often routines, actions, or operations that are tacit, causally ambiguous, and idiosyncratic (Nelson and Winter 1982; Polanyi 1966). Hunt (2000, p. 24) refers to core competences as higher-order resources because they are bundles of basic resources. Teece and Pisano (1994, p. 537) suggest that “the competitive advantage of firms stems from dynamic capabilities rooted in high performance routines operating inside the firm, embedded in the firm’s processes, and conditioned by its history. ” Hamel and Prahalad (pp. 202, 204) discuss “competition for competence,” or competitive advantage resulting from competence making a “disproportionate contribution to customer-perceived value. The focus of marketing on core competences inherently places marketing at the center of the integration of business functions and disciplines. As Prahalad and Hamel (1990, p. 82) suggest, “core competence is communication, involvement, and a deep commitment to working across organizational boundaries. ” In addition, they state (p. 82) that core competences are “collective learning in the organization, especially [about] how to coordinate diverse production skills. ” This cross-functional, intraorganizational boundaryA New Dominant Logic / 5 spanning also applies to the interorganizational boundaries of vertical marketing systems or networks.
Channel intermediaries and network partners represent core competences that are organized to gain competitive advantage by performing specialized marketing functions. The firms can have long-term viability only if they learn in conjunction with and are coordinated with other channel and network partners. The service-centered view of marketing is customercentric (Sheth, Sisodia, and Sharma 2000) and market driven (Day 1999). This means more than simply being consumer oriented; it means collaborating with and learning from customers and being adaptive to their individual and dynamic needs. A service-centered dominant logic implies that value is defined by and cocreated with the consumer rather than embedded in output.
Haeckel (1999) observes successful firms moving from practicing a “make-and-sell” strategy to a “sense-and-respond” strategy. Day (1999, p. 70) argues for thinking in terms of self-reinforcing “value cycles” rather than linear value chains. In the servicecentered view of marketing, firms are in a process of continual hypothesis generation and testing. Outcomes (e. g. , financial) are not something to be maximized but something to learn from as firms try to serve customers better and improve their performance. Thus, a market-oriented and learning organization (Slater and Narver 1995) is compatible with, if not implied by, the service-centered model.
Because of its central focus on dynamic and learned core competences, the emerging service-centered dominant logic is also compatible with emerging theories of the firm. For example, Teece and Pisano (1994, p. 540) emphasize that competences and capabilities are “ways of organizing and getting things done, which cannot be accomplished by using the price system to coordinate activity. ” Having described the goods- and service-centered views of marketing, we turn to ways that the views are different. Six differences between the goods- and service-centered dominant logic, all centered on the distinction between operand and operant resources, are presented in Table 2.
The six attributes and our eight foundational premises (FPs) help present the patchwork of the emerging dominant logic. FP1: The Application of Specialized Skills and Knowledge Is the Fundamental Unit of Exchange People have two basic operant resources: physical and mental skills. Both types of skills are distributed unequally in a population. Each person’s skills are not necessarily optimal for his or her survival and well-being; therefore, specialization is more efficient for society and for individual members of society. Largely because they specialize in particular skills, people (or other entities) achieve scale effects. This specialization requires exchange (Macneil 1980; Smith 1904).
Studying exchange in ancient societies, Mauss (1990) shows how division of labor within and between clans and tribes results in the tendering of “total services” by gift giving among clans and tribes. Not only do people contract for services from one another by giving and receiving gifts, but, as Mauss (p. 6) observes, “there is total service in 6 / Journal of Marketing, January 2004 the sense that it is indeed the whole clan that contracts on behalf of all, for all that it possesses and for all that it does. ” This exchange of specializations leads to two views about what is exchanged. The first view involves the output from the performance of the specialized activities; the second involves the performance of the specialized activities.
That is, if two parties jointly provide for each other’s carbohydrate and protein needs by having one party specialize in fishing knowledge and skills and the other specialize in farming knowledge and skills, the exchange is one of fish for wheat or of the application of fishing knowledge or competence (fishing services) for the application of farming knowledge or competence (farming services). The relationships between specialized skills and exchange have been recognized as far back as Plato’s time, and the concept of the division of labor served as the foundation for Smith’s (1904) seminal work in economics. However, Smith focused on only a subclass of human skills: the skills that resulted in surplus tangible output (in general, tangible goods and especially manufactured goods) that could be exported and thus contributed to national wealth.
Smith recognized that the foundation of exchange was human skills as well as the necessity and usefulness of skills that did not result in tangible goods (i. e. , services); they were simply not “productive” in terms of his national wealth standard. More than anything else, Smith was a moral philosopher who had the normative purpose of explaining how the division of labor and exchange should contribute to social well-being. In the sociopolitical milieu of his time, social well-being was defined as national wealth, and national wealth was defined in terms of exportable things (operand resources). Thus, for Smith, “productive” activity was limited to the creation of tangible goods, or output that has exchange value.
At that time, Smith’s focus on exchange value represented a departure from the more accepted focus on value in use, and it had critical implications for how economists, and later marketers, would view exchange. Smith was aware of the schoolmen’s and early economic scholars’ view that “The Value of all Wares arises from their use” (Barbon 1903, p. 21) and that “nothing has a price among men except pleasure, and only satisfactions are purchased” (Galiani qtd. in Dixon 1990, p. 304). But this use–value interpretation was not consistent with Smith’s national wealth standard. For Smith, “wealth consisted of tangible goods, not the use made of them” (Dixon 1990, p. 340). Although most early economists (e. g. Mill 1929; Say 1821) took exception to this singular focus on tangible output, they nonetheless acquiesced to Smith’s view that the proper subject matter for economic philosophy was the output of “productive” skills or services, that is, tangible goods that have embedded value. Frederic Bastiat was an early economic scholar who did not acquiesce to the dominant view. Bastiat criticized the political economists’ view that value was tied only to tangible objects. For Bastiat (1860, p. 40), the foundations of economics were people who have “wants” and who seek “satisfactions. ” Although a want and its satisfaction are specific to each person, the effort required is often provided by others. For Bastiat (1964, pp. 61–62), “the great economic law is TABLE 2 Operand and Operant Resources Help Distinguish the Logic of the Goods- and Service-Centered Views Traditional Goods-Centered Dominant Logic Primary unit of exchange People exchange for goods. These goods serve primarily as operand resources. Emerging Service-Centered Dominant Logic People exchange to acquire the benefits of specialized competences (knowledge and skills), or services. Knowledge and skills are operant resources. Goods are transmitters of operant resources (embedded knowledge); they are intermediate “products” that are used by other operant resources (customers) as appliances in valuecreation processes.
The customer is a coproducer of service. Marketing is a process of doing things in interaction with the customer. The customer is primarily an operant resource, only functioning occasionally as an operand resource. Value is perceived and determined by the consumer on the basis of “value in use. ” Value results from the beneficial application of operant resources sometimes transmitted through operand resources. Firms can only make value propositions. The customer is primarily an operant resource. Customers are active participants in relational exchanges and coproduction. Wealth is obtained through the application and exchange of specialized knowledge and skills.
It represents the right to the future use of operant resources. Role of goods Goods are operand resources and end products. Marketers take matter and change its form, place, time, and possession. Role of customer The customer is the recipient of goods. Marketers do things to customers; they segment them, penetrate them, distribute to them, and promote to them. The customer is an operand resource. Value is determined by the producer. It is embedded in the operand resource (goods) and is defined in terms of “exchange-value. ” Determination and meaning of value Firm–customer interaction The customer is an operand resource. Customers are acted on to create transactions with resources.
Wealth is obtained from surplus tangible resources and goods. Wealth consists of owning, controlling, and producing operand resources. Source of economic growth this: Services are exchanged for services…. It is trivial, very commonplace; it is, nonetheless, the beginning, the middle, and the end of economic science. ” He argued (1860, p. 43) the following: “[I]t is in fact to this faculty … to work the one for the other; it is this transmission of efforts, this exchange of services [this emphasis added], with all the infinite and involved combinations to which it gives rise … which constitutes Economic Science, points out its origin, and determines its limits. Therefore, value was considered the comparative appreciation of reciprocal skills or services that are exchanged to obtain utility; value meant “value in use. ” As Mill (1929) did, Bastiat recognized that by using their skills (operant resources), humans could only transform matter (operand resources) into a state from which they could satisfy their desires. However, the narrower focus on the tangible output with exchange value had several advantages for the early economists’ quest of turning economic philosophy into an eco- nomic science, not the least of which was economics’ similarity to the subject matter of the archetypical science of the day: Newtonian mechanics. The treatment of value as embedded utility, or value added (exchange value), enabled economists (e. g. Marshall 1927; Walras 1954) to ignore both the application of mental and physical skills (services) that transformed matter into a potentially useful state and the actual usefulness as perceived by the consumer (value in use). Thus, economics evolved into the science of matter (tangible goods) that is embedded with utility, as a result of manufacturing, and has value in exchange. It was from this manufacturing-based view of economics that marketing emerged 100 years later. Throughout the period that marketing was primarily concerned with the distribution of physical goods, the goods-centered model was probably adequate. However, as the focus of marketing moved away from distribution and toward the process of exchange, economists began to perceive the ccepted idea of marketing adding time, place, and possession utility (Weld A New Dominant Logic / 7 1916) as inadequate. As we noted previously, Alderson (1957, p. 69) advised, “What is needed is not an interpretation of the utility created by marketing, but a marketing interpretation of the whole process of creating utility. ” Shostack (1977, p. 74) issued a much more encompassing challenge than to “break [services marketing] free from product marketing”; she argued for a “new conceptual framework” and suggested the following: One unorthodox possibility can be drawn from direct observation of the nature of market “satisfiers” available to it. How should the automobile be defined? Is General Motors marketing a service, a service that happens to include a by-product called a car? Levitt’s classic “Marketing Myopia” exhorts businessmen to think exactly this generic way about what they market. Are automobiles “tangible services”? Shostack concluded (p. 74) that “if ‘either–or’ terms (product [versus] service) do not adequately describe the true nature of marketed entities, it makes sense to explore the usefulness of a new structural definition. ” We believe that the emerging service-centered model meets Shostack’s challenge, addresses Alderson’s argument, and elaborates on Levitt’s (1960) exhortation.
FP2: Indirect Exchange Masks the Fundamental Unit of Exchange Over time, exchange moved from the one-to-one trading of specialized skills to the indirect exchange of skills in vertical marketing systems and increasingly large, bureaucratic, hierarchical organizations. During the same time, the exchange process became increasingly monetized. Consequently, the inherent focus on the customer as a direct trading partner largely disappeared. Because of industrial society’s increasing division of labor, its growth of vertical marketing systems, and its large bureaucratic and hierarchical organizations, most marketing personnel (and employees in general) stopped interacting with customers (Webster 1992).
In addition, because of the confluence of these forces, the skills-for-skills (services-for-services) nature of exchange became masked. The Industrial Revolution had a tremendous impact on efficiency, but this came at a price, at least in terms of the visibility of the true nature of exchange. Skills (at least “manufacturing” skills, such as making sharp sticks) that had been tailored to specific needs were taken out of cottage industry and mechanized, standardized, and broken down into skills that had increasingly narrow purposes (e. g. , sharpening one side of sticks). Workers’ specialization increasingly became microspecialization (i. e. , the performance of increasingly narrow-skilled proficiencies).
Organizations acquired and organized microspecializations to produce what people wanted, and thus it became easier for people to engage in exchange by providing their microspecializations to organizations. However, the microspecialists seldom completed a product or interacted with a customer. They were compensated indirectly with money paid by the organization and exchangeable in the market for the skills the microspecialists needed rather than with direct, reciprocal skill-provision by the customer. Thus, organizations fur8 / Journal of Marketing, January 2004 ther masked the skills-for-skills (services-for-services) nature of exchange. Organizations themselves specialized (e. g. by making sticks but relying on other organizations such as wholesalers and retailers to distribute them), thus further masking the nature of exchange. As organizations continued to increase in size, they began to realize that virtually all their workers had lost sense of both the customer (Hauser and Clausing 1988) and the purpose of their own service provision. The workers, who performed microspecialized functions deep within the organization, had internal customers, or other workers. One worker would perform a microspecialized task and then pass the work product on to another worker, who would perform an activity; this process continued throughout a service chain.
Because the workers along the chain did not pay one another (reciprocally exchange with one another) and did not typically deal directly with external customers, they could ignore quality and both internal and external customers. To correct for this problem, various management techniques were developed under the rubric of total quality management (Cole and Mogab 1995). The techniques were intended to reestablish the focus of workers and the organization on both internal and external customers and quality. The problem of organizations and their workers not paying attention to the customer is not unique to manufacturing organizations. If an organization simply provides intangibles, has some microspecialists who interact with customers, and is in an industry categorized as a “service” industry, it is not necessarily more customer focused.
Many non-goods-producing organizations, especially large bureaucracies, are just as subject as goods-producing institutions to the masking effect of indirect exchange; they also provide services through organized microspecializations that are focused on minute and isolated aspects of service provision. Regardless of the type of organization, the fundamental process does not change; people still exchange their often collective and distributed specialized skills for the individual and collective skills of others in monetization and marketing systems. People still exchange their services for other services. Money, goods, organizations, and vertical marketing systems are only the exchange vehicles.
FP3: Goods Are Distribution Mechanisms for Service Provision The view of tangible products as the fundamental components of economic exchange served reasonably well as Western societies entered the Industrial Revolution, and the primary interest of the developing science of economics was manufacturing. Given its early concerns with the distribution of manufactured and agricultural goods, the view also worked relatively well when it was adopted by marketing. However, marketing has moved well beyond distribution and is now concerned with more than the exchange of goods. Goods are not the common denominator of exchange; the common denominator is the application of specialized knowledge, mental skills, and, to a lesser extent, physical labor (physical skills). Knowledge and skills can be transferred (1) directly, (2) through education or training, or (3) indirectly by embedding them in objects.
Thus, tangible products can be viewed as embodied knowledge or activities (Normann and Ramirez 1993). Wheels, pulleys, internal combustion engines, and integrated chips are all examples of encapsulated knowledge, which informs matter and in turn becomes the distribution channel for skill application (i. e. , services). The matter, embodied with knowledge, is an “appliance” for the performance of services; it replaces direct service. Norris (1941, p. 136) was one of the first scholars to recognize that people want goods because they provide services. Prahalad and Hamel (1990, p. 85) refer to products (goods) as “the physical embodiments of one or more competencies. The wheel and pulley reduce the need for physical strength. A pharmaceutical provides medical services. A well-designed and easy-to-use razor replaces barbering services, and vacuum cleaners and other household appliances make household chores less labor intensive. Computers and applications software can substitute for the direct services of accountants, attorneys, physicians, and teachers. Kotler (1977, p. 8) notes that the “importance of physical products lies not so much in owning them as in obtaining the services they render. ” Gummesson (1995, p. 251) argues that “activities render services, things render services. ” Hollander (1979, p. 3) suggests that “services may be replaced by products” and compares barber shaves to safety razors and laundry services to washing machines. In addition to their direct service provision, the appliances serve as platforms for meeting higher-order needs (Rifkin 2000). Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2000, p. 84) refer to the appliances as “artifacts, around which customers have experiences” (see also Pine and Gilmore 1999). Gutman (1982, p. 60) has pointed out that products are “means” for reaching “end-states,” or “valued states of being, such as happiness, security, and accomplishment. ” That is, people often purchase goods because owning them, displaying them, and experiencing them (e. g. enjoying knowing that they have a sports car parked in the garage, showing it off to others, and experiencing its handling ability) provide satisfactions beyond those associated with the basic functions of the product (e. g. , transportation). As humans have become more specialized as a species, use of the market and goods to achieve higher-order benefits, such as satisfaction, selffulfillment, and esteem, has increased. Goods are platforms or appliances that assist in providing benefits; therefore, consistent with Gutman, goods are best viewed as distribution mechanisms for services, or the provision of satisfaction for higher-order needs.
FP4: Knowledge Is the Fundamental Source of Competitive Advantage Knowledge is an operant resource. It is the foundation of competitive advantage and economic growth and the key source of wealth. Knowledge is composed of propositional knowledge, which is often referred to as abstract and generalized, and prescriptive knowledge, which is often referred to as techniques (Mokyr 2002). The techniques are the skills and competences that entities use to gain competitive advan- tage. This view is consistent with current economic thought that the change in a firm’s productivity is primarily dependent on knowledge or technology (Capon and Glazer 1987; Nelson, Peck, and Kalachek 1967).
Capon and Glazer (1987) broadly define technology as know-how, and they identify three components of technology: (1) product technology (i. e. , ideas embodied in the product), (2) process technology (i. e. , ideas involved in the manufacturing process), and (3) management technology (i. e. , management procedures associated with business administration and sales). Mokyr (2002) reviews historical developments in science and technology to demonstrate that the Industrial Revolution was essentially about the creation and dissemination of propositional and prescriptive knowledge. In the neoclassical model of economic growth, the development of knowledge in society is exogenous to the competitive system.
However, in Hunt’s (2000) general theory of competition, knowledge is endogenous. The process of competition and the information provided by profits result in competition being a knowledge-discovery process (Hayek 1945; Hunt 2000). Therefore, not only are mental skills the fundamental source of competitive advantage, but competition also enhances mental skills and learning in society. Dickson (1992) suggests that the firms that do the best are the firms that learn most quickly in a dynamic and evolving competitive market. Quinn, Doorley, and Paquette (1990, p. 60) state that “physical facilities—including a seemingly superior product—seldom provide a sustainable competitive edge. Quinn, Doorley, and Paquette’s suggestion that “a maintainable advantage usually derives from outstanding depth in selected human skills, logistics capabilities, knowledge bases, or other service strengths that competitors cannot reproduce and that lead to greater demonstrable value for the customer” is consistent with our own views. Normann and Ramirez (1993, p. 69) state, “the only true source of competitive advantage is the ability to conceive the entire valuecreating system and make it work. ” Day (1994) discusses competitive advantage in terms of capabilities or skills, especially those related to market-sensing, customerlinking, and channel-bonding. Barabba (1996, p. 48) argues that marketing-based knowledge and decision making provide the core competence that “gives the enterprise its competitive edge. These views imply that operant resources, specifically the use of knowledge and mental competences, are at the heart of competitive advantage and performance. The use of knowledge as the basis for competitive advantage can be extended to the entire “supply” chain, or service-provision chain. The goods-centered model necessarily assumes that the primary flow in the chain is a physical flow, but it acknowledges the existence of information flows. We argue that the primary flow is information; service is the provision of the information to (or use of the information for) a consumer who desires it, with or without an accompanying appliance. Evans and Wurster (1997, p. 2) state this idea as follows: “[T]he value chain also includes all the information that flows within a company and between a company and its suppliers, its distributors, and its existing or potential customers. Supplier relationships, brand identity, process coordination, customer loyalty, A New Dominant Logic / 9 employee loyalty, and switching costs all depend on various kinds of information. ” Evans and Wurster suggest that every business is an information business. It is through the differential use of information, or knowledge, applied in concert with the knowledge of other members of the service chain that the firm is able to make value propositions to the consumer and gain competitive advantage. Normann and Ramirez (1993, pp. 5–66) argue that value creation should not be considered in terms of the “outdated” value-added notion, “grounded in the assumptions and models of an industrial economy,” but in terms of the value created through “coproduction with suppliers, business partners, allies, and customers. ” The move toward a service-dominant logic is grounded in an increased focus on operant resources and specifically on process management. Webster (1992) and Day (1994) emphasize the importance of marketing being central to cross-functional business processes. To better manage the processes, Moorman and Rust (1999) suggest that firms are shifting away from a functional marketing organization and toward a marketing process organization. Taking this even further, Srivastava, Shervani, and Fahey (1999, p. 68) contend that the enterprise consists of three core business processes: (1) product development management, (2) supply chain management, and (3) customer relationship management. They also contend that marketing must be a critical part of all these core business processes “that create and sustain customer and shareholder value. ” Similarly, Barabba (1996) argues that marketing is an organizational “state of mind. ” the organization of the overall process of production… If the painting is done by employees within the producer unit [that] makes the good, it will be treated as [part of] the goods production, whereas if it is done by an outside painting company, it will be classified as an intermediate input of services.
Thus, when a service previously performed in a manufacturing establishment is contracted out, to a specialized services firm, data will show an increase in services production in the economy even though the total activity of “painting,” may be unchanged. FP5: All Economies Are Services Economies As we have argued, the fundamental economic exchange process pertains to the application of mental and physical skills (service provision), and manufactured goods are mechanisms for service provision. However, economic science, as well as most classifications of economic exchange that are based on it, is grounded on Smith’s narrowed concern with manufactured output.
Consequently, services have traditionally been defined as anything that does not result in manufactured (or agricultural) output (e. g. , Rathmell 1966). In addition, as we have suggested, specialization breeds microspecialization; people are constantly moving toward more specific specialties. Over time, activities and processes that were once routinely performed internally by a single economic entity (e. g. , a manufacturing firm) become separate specializations, which are then often outsourced (Shugan 1994). Giarini (1985, p. 134) refers to this increasing specialization as “complification. ” The complification process causes distortions in national economic accounting systems, such as the one used in the United States, that are based on types of output (e. g. agricultural, manufacturing, intangible). The U. S. government is aware of these distortions, as is evidenced in the Economic Classification Policy Committee of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s (1994, pp. 3–4) citation of Hill (1977, p. 320) on the issue: [O]ne in the same activity, such as painting, may be classified as goods or service production depending purely on It is because of the differentiation of specialized skills (services) in an output-based classification model rather than a fundamental economic shift that scholars definitionally, rather than functionally, have only recently considered that a shift is occurring toward a “services economy” (see Shugan 1994).
Similarly, economists have taught marketing scholars to think about economic development in terms of “eras” or “economies,” such as hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and industrial. Formal economic thought developed during one of these eras, the industrial economy, and it has tended to describe economies in terms of the types of output, or operand resources (game, agricultural products, and manufactured products), associated with markets that were expanding rapidly at the time. However, the “economies” might be better viewed as macrospecializations, each characterized by the expansion and refinement of some particular type of competence (operant resource) that could be exchanged.
The hunter-gatherer macrospecialization was characterized by the refinement and application of foraging and hunting knowledge and skills; the agricultural macrospecialization by the cultivation of knowledge and skills; the industrial economy by the refinement of knowledge and skills for large-scale mass production and organizational management; and the services and information economies by the refinement and use of knowledge and skills about information and the exchange of pure, unembedded knowledge. In both the classification of economic activity and the economic eras, the common denominator is the increased refinement and exchange of knowledge and skills, or operant resources. Virtually all the activities performed today have always been performed in some manner; however, they have become increasingly separated into specialties and exchanged in the market.
All this may seem to be an argument that traditional classificatory systems underestimate the historical role and rise of services. In a sense, it is. Services are not just now becoming important, but just now they are becoming more apparent in the economy as specialization increases and as less of what is exchanged fits the dominant manufacturedoutput classification system of economic activity. Services and the operant resources they represent have always characterized the essence of economic activity. FP6: The Customer Is Always a Coproducer From the traditional, goods-based, manufacturing perspective, the producer and consumer are usually viewed as ide- 10 / Journal of Marketing, January 2004 ally separated in order to enable maximum manufacturing efficiency.
However, if the normative goal of marketing is customer responsiveness, this manufacturing efficiency comes at the expense of marketing efficiency and effectiveness. From a service-centered view of marketing with a heavy focus on continuous processes, the consumer is always involved in the production of value. Even with tangible goods, production does not end with the manufacturing process; production is an intermediary process. As we have noted, goods are appliances that provide services for and in conjunction with the consumer. However, for these services to be delivered, the customer still must learn to use, maintain, repair, and adapt the appliance to his or her unique needs, usage situation, and behaviors.
In summary, in using a product, the customer is continuing the marketing, consumption, and value-creation and delivery processes. Increasingly, both marketing practitioners and academics are shifting toward a continuous-process perspective, in which separation of production and consumption is not a normative goal, and toward a recognition of the advantages, if not the necessity, of viewing the consumer as a coproducer. Among academics, Normann and Ramirez (1993, p. 69) state that “the key to creating value is to coproduce offerings that mobilize customers. ” Lusch, Brown, and Brunswick (1992) provide a general model to explain how much of the coproduction or service provision the customer will perform.
Oliver, Rust, and Varki (1998) echo and extend the idea of coproduction in their suggestion that marketing is headed toward a paradigm of “real-time” marketing, which integrates mass customization and relationship marketing by interactively designing evolving offerings that meet customers’ unique, changing needs. Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2000) note that the market has become a venue for proactive customer involvement, and they argue for co-opting customer involvement in the value-creation process. In summary, the customer becomes primarily an operant resource (coproducer) rather than an operand resource (“target”) and can be involved in the entire value and service chain in acting on operand resources. goods and to redefine the value-creation process.
As with much of the reexamination and redefinition that has originated in the services marketing literature, the implications can be extended to all of marketing. For example, Gummesson (1998, p. 247) has argued that “if the consumer is the focal point of marketing, value creation is only possible when a good or service is consumed. An unsold good has no value, and a service provider without customers cannot produce anything. ” Likewise, Gronroos (2000, pp. 24–25; emphasis in original) states, Value for customers is created throughout the relationship by the customer, partly in interactions between the customer and the supplier or service provider.
The focus is not on products but on the customers’ value-creating processes where value emerges for customers and is perceived by them,… the focus of marketing is value creation rather than value distribution, and facilitation and support of a value-creating process rather than simply distributing ready-made value to customers. We agree with both Gummesson and Gronroos, and we extend their logic by noting that the enterprise can only offer value propositions; the consumer must determine value and participate in creating it through the process of coproduction. If a tangible good is part of the offering, it is embedded with knowledge that has value potential for the intended consumer, but it is not embedded with value (utility). The consumer must understand that the value potential is translatable to specific needs through coproduction.
The enterprise can only make value propositions that strive to be better or more compelling than those of competitors. FP8: A Service-Centered View Is Customer Oriented and Relational Interactivity, integration, customization, and coproduction are the hallmarks of a service-centered view and its inherent focus on the customer and the relationship. Davis and Manrodt (1996, p. 6) approach a service-centered view in their discussion of the customer-interaction process: [It] begins with the interactive definition of the individual customers’ problem, the development of a customized solution, and delivery of that customized solution to the customer.
The solution may consist of a tangible product, an intangible service, or some combination of both. It is not the mix of the solution (be it product or service) that is important, but that the organization interacts with each customer to define the specific need and then develops a solution to meet the need. FP7: The Enterprise Can Only Make Value Propositions As we noted previously, marketing inherited a view that value was something embedded in goods during the manufacturing process, and early marketing scholars debated the issue of the types and extent of the utilities, or value-added, that were created by marketing processes. This value-added view functioned reasonably well as long as the focus of marketing remained the tangible good.
However, arguably, it was the inadequacy of the value-added concept that necessitated the delineation of the consumer orientation—essentially, the admonition that the consumer ultimately needed to find embedded value (value in exchange) useful (value in use). As Dixon (1990, p. 342) notes, the “conventional view of marketing adding properties to marketing … underlies the dissatisfaction with marketing theory that led to the services marketing literature” (see also Shaw 1994). Services marketing scholars have been forced both to reevaluate the idea of value being embedded in tangible It is in this sense of doing things, not just for the customer but also in concert with the customer, that the servicecentered view emerges. It is a model of inseparability of the one who offers (and the offer) and the consumer. Barabba (1995, p. 4) extends the customer-centric idea to the “integration of the voice of the market with the voice of the enterprise,” and Gummesson (2002) suggests the term “balanced centricity,” concepts that may be particularly compatible with a services-for-services exchange perspective. We also suggest that the interactive and integrative view of exchange is more compatible with the other normative elements of the marketing concept, the idea that all activities of the firm be A New Dominant Logic / 11 integrated in their market responsiveness and the idea that profits come from customer satisfaction (rather than units of goods sold) (Kohli and Jaworski 1990; Narver and Slater 1990). Notably, this view harks back to pre–Industrial Revolution days, when providers were close to their customers and involved in relationships that offered customized services. Hauser and Clausing (1988, p. 4) observe the following: Marketing, engineering, and manufacturing were integrated—in the same individual. If a knight wanted armor, he talked directly to the armorer, who translated the knight’s desires into a product, the two might discuss the material—plate rather than chain armor—and details like fluted surface for greater bending strength. Then the armorer would design the production process. Consistent with this view, Gummesson (1998, p. 243) suggests that services marketing research, and its emphasis on relationships and interaction, is one of the two “most crucial contributions” to relationship marketing; the other is the network approach to industrial marketing.
Similarly, Glynn and Lehtinen (1995) note that services scholars’ recognition of characteristics of intangibility, inseparability, and heterogeneity has forced a focus on interaction and relationships. At least in the U. S. marketing literature (Berry 1983), the term “relationship marketing” originated in the services literature (Gronroos 1994). Although the output-based, goods-centered paradigm is compatible with deterministic models of moving things through spatial dimensions (e. g. , distribution of goods), it is considerably less compatible with models of relationship. In their role as distribution mechanisms for service provision (FP3), goods may be instrumental in relationships, but they are not parties to the relationship; inanimate items of exchange cannot have relationships.
Over the past 50 years, marketing has been transitioning from a product and production focus to a consumer focus and, more recently, from a transaction focus to a relationship focu