The complexity of context: A service ecosystems approach for international marketing

Melissa Archpru Akaka, Stephen L. Vargo, Robert F. Lusch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


To strengthen the theoretical foundations of international marketing (IM), the authors propose a framework for conceptualizing the complexity of the context that frames international and global exchange systems. In particular, they apply a service ecosystems approach, which is grounded in service-dominant logic and its foundational premise that service is the basis of all exchange. The proposed framework provides insight into the nature of context, a distinguishing feature of IM. The authors argue that the embeddedness of social networks and the multiplicity of institutions within a service ecosystem influence the complexity of context. They articulate the way the (co)creation of value influences and is influenced by the enactment of practices and the integration of resources through various levels (micro, meso, and macro) of interaction and institutions. They introduce the concept of "value in cultural context" to emphasize the influence of the symbolic and social components of context. The article concludes with a discussion of the research implications for how a service ecosystems view can aid in the advancement of IM theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Institutions
  • Marketing theory
  • Service ecosystems
  • Service-dominant logic
  • Value cocreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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