The Evolution and Prospects of Service-dominant Logic: An Investigation of Past, Present, and Future Research

Ralf Wilden, Melissa Archpru Akaka, Ingo O. Karpen, Jan Hohberger

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Service-dominant logic (SDL) emerged over a decade ago as a potential framework and paradigmatic lens for rethinking the role of service in exchange and value creation. The growth of SDL reflects a major shift in service research. However, SDL’s relationship to prior service literature and its potential for future development in this field have not been empirically examined. We explore the foundational research areas and evolution of SDL research through a systematic investigation, which combines cocitation analysis with a novel text mining tool, Leximancer. Specifically, we investigate the research streams connected with SDL and compare core themes across two time periods (2004 to 2008 vs. 2009 to 2015). The findings reveal SDL’s interdisciplinary theoretical heritage and significant changes in the structure of focal themes and concepts over time. Our analyses identify current limitations and subsequent research areas and questions to further develop strategic approaches for SDL and advance a service ecosystems view. These include open innovation, dynamic capabilities, organizational microfoundations, and service systems, as well as social capital and consumer culture theories. Integration of midrange theories and strategic frameworks in these particular areas can help to guide managers in improving service innovation and enhancing value creation in service ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)345-361
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Published online July 12, 2017


  • Service-dominant logic
  • Service research
  • Leximancer
  • Cocreation

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