Making Service-Dominant Logic More Approachable

Part of a series on making service-dominant logic approachable

 Work In Progress
actors approachable basis beneficiary economies exchange fundamental innovation institutions logic premises resources service service-dominant value
  This article is work in progress - it will probably change (improve ) between visits, so please come back often

The definitions of service-dominant logic are great, academically.

However, they are unlikely to light up the management world. Or get the attention they need. Often they use confusing or strange words like phenomenological, or words that have a different meaning than usual, such as institutional.

So, I’ve decided to write a series of articles that make the foundational premises more approachable.

First I want to bring the premises into meaningful natural groups – the who, what and how. After that I look at each premises one-by-one. The aim is to make them more approachable. As well as to show how concepts we need to create and fix into goods-dominant logic come either for free or are naturally part of service-dominant logic.

Creating some sensible groupings

Here are the foundational premises of service-dominant logic in numerical order.

Figure 1: The Foundational Premises of Service-Dominant Logic, Vargo & Lush (2004, 2008, 2016)

They were initially defined in 2004 by Vargo & Lush and updated in 2008 and 2016.

To me, the order is not so helpful. It derives from the three separate papers showing the evolution of thinking over time. Which leads to some approachability issues due to jumps in context.

But, we can regroup them into categories of “the what”, “the who” and “the how”. And that gives us some focus back.

The What

Four of the foundational premises really describe the what of service-dominant logic. That service (rather than value) is the fundamental basis of exchange. That all economies are service economies. And how some economies appear not to be service economies as indirect exchange masks this.

The final what is that our service-centred view is inherently oriented to the beneficiary and is relational (as opposed to the transaction value-in-exchange focus of goods-dominant logic).

The Who

Three foundational premises are related to the “who”. And I include here as a “who” goods, operant resources and social and economic actors.

You could make a case that goods belongs in another category. But I want have it here as a conceptual aspect.

The How

The final grouping is the “how”s. How is value delivered, coordinated, created and determined:

Now we have grouped them in what I believe is a useful manner, let’s look at each principle in turn.

Approachable premises

There are several academic justifications for the word choices in the foundation premises. But I feel they don’t help us get the traction service-dominant logic deserves. Phenomenological, operant resources, institutions etc all can be a source of turn-off, or confusion.

To make the premises more approachable, I have created a series of articles looking at each premise. And seeking to understand it better as well as look at how a lot of theories we need to create from a good-dominant logic, fit neatly into service-dominant logic.

Here are the links to the articles:

  1. The What
  2. The Who
    • FP3: Goods are a distribution mechanism for service provision
    • FP4: Operant resources are the fundamental source of strategic benefit
    • FP9: All social and economic actors are resource integrators
  3. The How

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