The service-dominant logic and a hierarchy of operant resources: developing masterful operant resources and implications for marketing strategy

Conceptual/Theoretical Paper


Marketing’s evolution toward a new dominant logic requires the focus of marketing to be on the intangible, dynamic, operant resources that are at the heart of competitive advantage and performance. First, building on resource-advantage theory’s notion of basic resources and higher-order resources, this article proposes a hierarchy of basic, composite, and interconnected operant resources. Second, reviewing research on business strategy and marketing strategy, several resources that correspond to the proposed hierarchy are identified and discussed. Third, the notion of developing masterful operant resources is introduced. Fourth, based on the proposed hierarchy and the notion of masterful operant resources, some exemplars of potential research avenues for marketing strategy are provided. Finally, the article concludes with the discussion of implications for marketing practitioners, researchers, and educators. In sum, this article extends and elaborates the concept of operant resources in the service-dominant logic of marketing.


Hierarchy of operant resources Service-dominant logic Resource-advantage theory Operant resources Competences Capabilities Marketing strategy 


  1. Arnett, D. B., & Badrinarayanan, V. (2005). Enhancing customer-needs-driven CRM strategies: Core selling teams, knowledge management competence, and relationship marketing competence. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25(4), 329–343.Google Scholar
  2. Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collis, D. J. (1994). How valuable are organizational capabilities? Strategic Management Journal, 15, 143–152, Winter Special Issue.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Conner, K. (1991). A historical comparison of resource-based theory and five schools of thought within industrial-organization economics: Do we have a new theory of the firm? Journal of Management, 17, 121–154, (March).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Constantin, J. A., & Lusch, R. F. (1994). Understanding resource management. Oxford, OH: The Planning Forum.Google Scholar
  6. Danneels, E. (2002). The dynamics of product innovation and firm competences. Strategic Management Journal, 23, 1095–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Day, G. S. (1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58, 37–52, (October).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Day, G. S. (1999). Managing market relationships. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), 24–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dougherty, D. (1992). A practice-centered model of organizational renewal through product innovation. Strategic Management Journal, 13, 77–92, Summer Special Issue.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dowling, G. (2002). Customer relationship management: In B2C markets, often less is more. California Management Review, 44(3), 87–104.Google Scholar
  11. Dutta, S., Narasimhan, O., & Rajiv, S. (2005). Conceptualizing and measuring capabilities: Methodology and empirical application. Strategic Management Journal, 26, 277–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dutta, S., Zbaracki, M. J., & Bergen, M. (2003). Pricing process as a capability: A resource-based perspective. Strategic Management Journal, 24, 615–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Federation Internationale des Echecs (2006). Available from:
  14. Goslar, M. D. (1986). Capability criteria for marketing decision support systems. Journal of Management Information Systems, 3(1), 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gounaris, S. P. (2006). Internal-market orientation and its measurement. Journal of Business Research, 59, 432–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffith, D. A., Noble, S. M., & Chen, Q. (2006). The performance implications of entrepreneurial proclivity: A dynamic capabilities approach. Journal of Retailing, 82(1), 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gummesson, E. (1994). Making relationship marketing operational. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 5(5), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gummesson, E. (1999). Total relationship marketing. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  19. Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1989). Strategic intent. Harvard Business Review, 67, 63–76, (May–June).Google Scholar
  20. Heene, A., & Sanchez, R. (1997). Competence-based strategic management. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  21. Helfat, C. E., & Raubitschek, R. S. (2000). Product sequencing: Co-evolution of knowledge, capabilities and products. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 961–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hunt, S. D. (1997). Competing through relationships: Grounding relationship marketing in resource-advantage theory. Journal of Marketing Management, 13(5), 431–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hunt, S. D. (2000a). The competence-based, resource-advantage, and neoclassical theories of competition: Toward a synthesis. In R. Sanchez & A. Heene (Eds), Competence-based strategic management: Theory and research (pp. 177–208). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hunt, S. D. (2000b). A general theory of competition: Resources, competences, productivity, economic growth. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  25. Hunt, S. D. (2002). Foundations of marketing theory: Toward a general theory of marketing. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  26. Hunt, S. D. (2004).On the service-centered dominant logic of marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 21–22.Google Scholar
  27. Hunt, S. D., & Arnett, D. B. (2004). Market segmentation strategy, competitive advantage, and public policy: Grounding segmentation strategy in resource-advantage theory. Australasian Marketing Journal, 12(1), 7–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hunt, S. D., & Madhavaram, S. (2006a). The pedagogy of the service-dominant logic of marketing: Resource-advantage theory as an integrative theoretical foundation. In R. F. Lusch & S. L. Vargo (Eds.), Toward a service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate and directions. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  29. Hunt, S. D., & Madhavaram, S. (2006b). Teaching marketing strategy: Using resource-advantage theory as an integrative theoretical foundation. Journal of Marketing Education, 28, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hunt, S. D., & Morgan, R. M. (1995). The comparative advantage theory of competition. Journal of Marketing, 59, 1–15, (April).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hunt, S. D., & Morgan, R. M. (2004). The resource-advantage theory of competition: A review. Review of Marketing Research, 1, 153–205.Google Scholar
  32. Jansen, J. J. P., Van Den Bosch, F. A. J., & Volberda, H. W. (2005). Managing potential and realized absorptive capacity: How do organizational antecedents matter? Academy of Management Journal, 48(6), 999–1015.Google Scholar
  33. Jayachandran, S., Hewitt, K., & Kaufman, P. (2004). Customer response capability in a sense-and-respond era: The role of customer knowledge process. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(3), 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jerez-Gomez, P., Cespedes-Orente, J., & Valle-Cabrera, R. (2005). Organizational learning capability: A proposal of measurement. Journal of Business Research, 58, 715–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Johnson, J. L., Pui-Wan Lee, R., Saini, A., & Grohmann, B. (2003). Market-focused strategic flexibility: Conceptual advances and an integrative model. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(1), 74–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Johnson, J. L., & Sohi, R. S. (2003). The development of interfirm partnering competence: Platforms for learning, learning activities, and consequences of learning. Journal of Business Research, 56, 757–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kirca, A. H., Jayachandran, S., & Bearden, W. O. (2005). Market orientation: A meta-analytic review and assessment of its antecedents and impact on performance. Journal of Marketing, 69(2), 24–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kohli, A. K., & Jaworski, B. (1990). Market orientation: The construct, research propositions, and managerial implications. Journal of Marketing, 54, 1–18, (April).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kroll, K. M. (2006). Customer made. American Way Available from:
  40. Lambe, C. J., Spekman, R. E., & Hunt, S. D. (2002). Alliance competence, resources, and alliance success: Conceptualization, measurement, and initial test. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(2), 141–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Leonard, D., & Sensiper, S. (1998). The role of tacit knowledge in group innovation. California Management Review, 40, 112–132.Google Scholar
  42. Li, T., & Calantone, R. (1998). The impact of market knowledge competence on new product advantage: Conceptualization and empirical examination. Journal of Marketing, 62, 13–29, (October).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lusch, R. F., & Vargo, S. L. (2006a). The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  44. Lusch, R. F., & Vargo, S. L. (2006b). Service-dominant logic: Reactions, reflections, and refinements. Marketing Theory, 6(3), 281–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Madhavaram, S., Badrinarayanan, V., & McDonald, R. E. (2005). Integrated marketing communication (IMC) and brand identity as critical components of brand equity strategy: A conceptual framework and research propositions. Journal of Advertising, 34(4), 69–80.Google Scholar
  46. Menguc, B., & Auh, S. (2006). Creating a firm-level dynamic capability through capitalizing on market orientation and innovativeness. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(1), 63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Menon, A., Bharadwaj, S. G., Adidam, P. T., & Edison, S. W. (1998). Antecedents and consequences of marketing strategy making: A model and a test. Journal of Marketing, 63(2), 18–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Narver, J. C., & Slater, S. F. (1990). The effect of market orientation on business profitability. Journal of Marketing 54, 20–35, (October).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peltier, J. W., Schibrowsky, J. A., & Schultz, D. E. (2003). Interactive integrated marketing communication: Combining the power of IMC, the new media and database marketing. International Journal of Advertising, 22, 93–115.Google Scholar
  50. Penrose, E. T. (1959). The theory of the growth of the firm. London: Basil Blackwell and Mott.Google Scholar
  51. Polanyi, M. (1957). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  52. Reid, M., Luxton, S., & Mavondo, F. (2005). The relationship between integrated marketing communication, market orientation, and brand orientation. Journal of Advertising, 34(4), 11–23.Google Scholar
  53. Ritter, T., & Gemunden, H. G. (2003). Network competence: Its impact on innovation success and its antecedents. Journal of Business Research, 56, 745–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ritter, T., & Gemunden, H. G. (2004). The impact of a company’s business strategy on its technological competence, network competence and innovation success. Journal of Business Research 57, 548–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Slotegraaf, R. J., & Dickson, P. R. (2004). The paradox of a marketing planning capability. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(4), 371–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Smith, K. G., Collins, C. J., & Clark, K. D. (2005). Existing knowledge, knowledge creation capability, and the rate of new product introduction in high-technology firms. Academy of Management Journal, 48(2), 346–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Teece, D., & Pisano, G. (1994). The dynamic capabilities of firms: An introduction. Industrial and Corporate Change, 3, 537–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Teece, D., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal 18(7), 509–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Winter, S. G. (2003). Understanding dynamic capabilities. Strategic Management Journal, 24, 991–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zahra, S. A., & George, G. (2002). Absorptive capacity: A review, reconceptualization, and extension. Academy of Management Review, 27(2), 185–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zollo, M., & Winter, S. G. (2002). Deliberate learning and the evolution of dynamic capabilities. Organizational Science, 13(3), 339–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingCleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of MarketingTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Personalised recommendations