Update of Service-Dominant Logic – 2015

In their recent paper “Institutions and axioms: an extension and update of service-dominant logic,” Stephen Vargo and Robert Lusch summarize key steps in the evolution of Service-Dominant Logic since their original formulation of S-DL appeared in 2004.

Within this one paper, Vargo and Lusch provide several perspectives on the evolutionary path of S-DL.


Along its evolutionary path, Service-Dominant logic has recognized and taken steps to address two deficiencies:

  1. An imprecision in delineation of the Foundational Premises (FPs) and specification of the Axioms of S-DL
  2. An absence of a clearly articulated specification of the mechanisms of (often massive-scale) co-ordination and co-operation involved in the co-creation of value through markets and, more broadly, in society.

Present Contribution

To alleviate this limitation and facilitate a better understanding of co-operation (and co-ordination), an eleventh Foundational Premise (Fifth Axiom) is introduced, focusing on:

  • the role of institutions and
  • institutional arrangements
  • in systems of value co-creation (aka service ecosystems)


While Vargo and Lusch have collaborated together and separately with many other researchers in the past decade, their tradition has been to come together (on their own) every two years to refine their specification of Service-Dominant Logic (S-DL):

Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing
The four service marketing myths remnants of a goods-based, manufacturing model
Service-dominant logic
Service-dominant logic: reactions, reflections and refinements
Service-Dominant Logic as a foundation for a general theory
Service-dominant logic: continuing the evolution
Why “service”?
The service-dominant mindset
From goods to service (s): Divergences and convergences of logics
Service-Dominant Logic, market theory and marketing theory
A service logic for service science
SD logic: accommodating, integrating, transdisciplinary
“Relationship” in Transition: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Relationship and Service-Dominant Logic
From repeat patronage to value co-creation in service ecosystems: a transcending conceptualization of relationship
The nature and understanding of value: a service-dominant logic perspective
Gaining competitive advantage with service-dominant logic
The forum on markets and marketing (FMM) Advancing service-dominant logic
Service-dominant logic: Premises, perspectives, possibilities
An introduction to service-dominant logic
Inversions of service-dominant logic
The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions (Book)
Service-Dominant logic as a foundation for a general theory

Table 1. Bi-annual collaboration of Vargo-Lusch on Service-Dominant Logic (2004 – 2014).

Vargo and Lusch have represented the evolution of Service-Dominant Logic in terms of refinements of its Foundational Premises (FPs) and Axioms:

2004 2008 2015
FP1 The application of specialized skills and knowledge is the fundamental unit of exchange. Service is the fundamental basis of exchange No Change – AXIOM STATUS
FP2 Indirect exchange masks the fundamental unit of exchange. Indirect exchange masks the fundamental basis of exchange. No Change
FP3 Goods are distribution mechanisms for service provision. No Change No Change
FP4 Knowledge is the fundamental source of competitive advantage. Operant resources are the fundamental source of competitive advantage. Operant resources are the fundamental source of strategic benefit.
FP5 All economies are service economies. No Change No Change
FP6 The customer is always the co-producer. The customer is always a co-creator of value. Value is co-created by multiple actors, always including the beneficiary – AXIOM STATUS
FP7 The enterprise can only make value propositions. The enterprise cannot deliver value, but only offer value propositions. Actors cannot deliver value but can participate in the creation and offering of value propositions.
FP8 Service-centered view is customer oriented and relational. A service-centered view is inherently customer-oriented and relational. A service-centered view is inherently beneficiaryoriented and relational.
FP9 All social and economic actors are resource integrators. No change – AXIOM STATUS
FP10 Value is always uniquely and phenomenologically determined by the beneficiary. No change. – AXIOM STATUS
FP11 Value co-creation is coordinated through actor-generated institutions and institutional arrangements. – AXIOM STATUS

Table 2. Development of the Foundational Premises of Service-Dominant Logic.

At a more general level of description, we would describe the evolution of Service-Dominant Logic turns on promoting three new classes of objects:

  • actor
  • institution
  • service ecosystem

… and four dynamics of service:

  • the role of co-operation (versus competition) in service provision
  • the role of institutions in value co-creation
  • the role of experience in service evaluation
  • the role of value co-creation in service innovation

The Service-Dominant Logic of today imagines resource-integrating, reciprocal-service-providing actors co-create value through meaning-laden experiences in service ecosystems governed and evaluated through institutional arrangements.

The major components of this emerging narrative are presented in Figure 1.

Vargo and Lusch 2015 - Fig 1 The narrative and process of S-D Logic

Figure 1. The narrative and process of Service-Dominant Logic.

We’d now like to consider the innovative elements of this narrative, beginning with the three new classes of objects (Actor, Institution, and Service Ecosystem) in Service-Dominant Logic.


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