Transitioning from service management to service-dominant logic: Observations and recommendations

Evert Gummesson, Robert F. Lusch, Stephen L. Vargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reflect on actions and obstacles in the conceptual transition from mainstream service management (19702000s) to a new approach synthesized in servicedominant (SD) logic (2000s). Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a review of approaches to service in the literature, education, and practice in management disciplines and economics. Findings – SD logic has triggered considerable interest in the global academic community. Its ten foundational premises (FPs) hold that service(s) and the roles of suppliers/customers be reconceptualized on a higher level of relevance and generalization. The new logic is not final but – to use its own terminology – is a value proposition that opens up for cocreated theory improvements. Research limitations/implications – To transition from a goods/services divide to a goods/service union, the platform for future service research requires the superordination of mainstream service management by a new language and lexicon and the generation of new theory; testing of the new theory by comparing its robustness with that of extant theory; conduct of empirical studies through hypothesestesting and real world, indepth research and the application of complexity theory, network, and systems theory; cocreation by and between researchers; focus on validity and relevance by using the full range of SD logic compatible methods and metrics; and investigation at both micro and macro levels. Practical implications – Business, marketing, governments, and politicians should focus on service and value and abandon the goods/services and producer/customer divides. Textbooks and educators should transition from outdated concepts and models. Improved education is strongly supported by IBM's service science programme. Originality/value – The paper suggests that several developments in mainstream service management that once brought attention to service now provide obstacles both in research, education, and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-22
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Service Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 23 2010


  • Complexity theory
  • Customer service management
  • Education
  • Systems theory
  • Transition management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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