Managing with a service perspective

Charles R. Greer, Texas Christian University
Robert F. Lusch, University of Arizona
Stephen L. Vargo, University of Hawaii

Many organizational routines and management practices historically grounded in a manufacturing or “goods-dominant” logic are waning. Today we are witnessing many indicators of management change, such as movement away from defined organizational boundaries to fuzzy boundaries, from workers as labor to workers as talent, from a high division of labor to cross-functional teams, from a customer focus to a broader stakeholder orientation, and from rigid structures to flexible, loosely coupled and resilient systems, to name a few. Indeed, complexity, dynamics, and uncertainty describe virtually aspect of management and organizational life. Accordingly, we suggest it is time for business leaders to evolve in how they think about relationships. Service-dominant (S-D) logic offers a new mindset that embraces a focus on working together (employees, managers, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders) to integrate resources (combining or aligning assets) for mutual value creation (producing benefit for all participants.) We offer five key insights drawn from service-dominant (S-D) logic and marketing theory and argue that they contribute to a service-orientation perspective that can serve as an organizing framework for leading and managing organizations. We also argue that S-D logic provides a means of better informing management practice.

This is a working paper.