Reflections on customers’ primary role in markets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Technology developments have transformed the business landscape by accelerating connectivity, transparency and unpredictability. We argue that the most dramatic consequence is not the possibilities created for companies but rather the challenges that emerge as a result of customer behaviour undergoing fundamental changes. Technology transformation has paved the way for empowered customers who are increasingly influencing businesses and markets, and the challenge for practitioners and researchers alike is to make sense of the role of these customers in such business environments. These developments have yielded a need to revise companies’ business models and to innovate new offerings.
In scholarly research on marketing, this need has become evident and, beyond suggesting new concepts, completely new marketing management perspectives have been proposed, and each has its own core assumptions and focus. Broader views have emerged, and these stress the applicability of these perspectives
not only to the top-level management of businesses but also to any non-commercial organisation.
In this article, we reflect on the customer-dominant logic (CDL) of marketing, which stresses the customer's primary role in business. As such, CDL differs from approaches that focus on the provider's perspective. The CDL approach is an expression of the research ideals and goals that are based on the Nordic School of Service Management. We argue that CDL is well aligned with emerging challenges in most markets, both established and nascent, and that it is more managerially relevant than many other perspectives. This is also in line with the recent calls for a soul of relevance for European management research (Chia, 2014; Hernes, 2014).
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 15.09.2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Marketing philosophy
  • Managerial mindsets
  • Customer-dominant logic
  • Service management


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