Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing
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Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing

Edited by Robert M. Morgan, Janet Turner Parish and George Deitz

The Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing includes contributions from relationship marketing experts in business-to-business, business-to-consumer, global services, technology and a variety of other contexts of practice. Academics, students, and marketing professionals will all benefit from the insights provided. The Handbook begins with reviews of the developments in relationship marketing over the last two decades by noted relationship marketing scholars including Jagdish Sheth, Atul Parvatiyar, Evert Gummesson and Robert Morgan. It continues with detailed discussions of special topics that will be valuable to anyone interested in relationship marketing.
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Chapter 11: Aligning service dominant logic and the relationship marketing view of the customer

Thomas W. Gruen


It has now been ten years since the publication of the seminal article that introduced the concept of “service dominant logic,” as a shift in perspective, as the organizing approach to marketing. In that article, Vargo and Lusch (2004) proposed that marketing is evolving to a “new dominant logic” that subsumes what they identified as seven developing separate lines of thought towards marketing as a social and economic process. These lines of thought have developed around various themes such as market orientation, services marketing, relationship marketing (RM), quality management, network analysis, and so on, and these occurred where academic researchers found the goods dominant (G-D) perspective of marketing lacking in its ability to explain the phenomena that were being investigated. Service dominant logic (SDL) has clearly emerged as a major contribution to marketing, having generated an unprecedented number of conceptual articles resulting from the framework. The 2004 article has been the highest-cited article published in the Journal of Marketing since 2000 (AMA 2011; Ehrenthal 2013). While “relationship marketing” was only one of seven lines of thought used in the development of the SDL view, the concept of the relationship is critical to its understanding. SDL proposes that, “marketing has moved from a goods dominant view, in which tangible output and discrete transactions were central, to a service dominant view, in which intangibility, exchange processes, and relationships are central” (Vargo and Lusch 2004: 2, italics added).

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