In the subject area Economics, Econometrics and Finance, the paper “Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing”, published by Stephen Vargo and Robert Lusch in the Journal of Marketing, was the TopCited article between 2004 and 2008. This article has been cited 282 times.

Relevance and timing count

Professor Vargo from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii, US, explains: “While we did not fully anticipate the impact the article would have, I think there are several reasons for it. First, it was intended to capture and extend a general evolution in thought about economic exchange, both within and outside of marketing. The most common comment we receive is something like ‘you said what I have been trying to say’ in part or in whole. Thus, although it was published in a marketing journal, it seems to have resonated with a much larger audience.

“We have also said from the outset that what has now become known as service-dominant (S-D) logic is a work in process and have tried to make its development inclusive. As we have interacted with other scholars, we have modified our original views – and the original foundational premises – and expanded the scope of S-D logic. This approach seems to have been well received.”

Professor Vargo also acknowledges an element of “fortuitous timing” in the article’s success: “The role of service in the economy is becoming increasingly recognized and firms such as IBM and GE – and many others – are shifting from thinking about themselves as manufacturing firms to primarily service firms. Similar shifts are taking place in academic and governmental thinking. S-D logic provides a service-based, conceptual foundation for these changes.”

Busting paradigms

Professor Eric Arnould from the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Wyoming, US, has cited this paper. He explains: “this article is a paradigm buster; it is as simple as that. The paper took under-systematized currents of thought that have been circulating in the marketing discipline for a number of years and codified them. The paper proposes that marketing is about the exchange of services or resources, not things; and that value is always co-created in the exchange of resources both immaterial (operand) and material (operant) between parties. If widely adopted, their detailed proposals will change marketing theory and practice forever. The paper is widely cited because of the ongoing interest in their recommendations both in practice, such as for IBM, and in the academic world. We cited the paper both for its content and its authority as a paradigm buster”.


(1) Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2004) “Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 68, issue 1, pp. 1–17.
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