Shifting from Goods-Dominant to Service-Dominant Perspective

August 05, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, approaches and paradigms that once served as the cornerstone of success can quickly become obsolete. One such paradigm shift that has gained prominence is the transition from a Goods-Dominant approach to a Service-Dominant approach. This transformation is not just a matter of semantics; it's a fundamental reimagining of how businesses create, deliver, and capture value.

2023 08 05

The Goods-Dominant Approach: A Paradigm of Exchange

In the traditional Goods-Dominant approach, businesses viewed their offerings, whether products or equipment, as inherently valuable entities. The focus was on the tangible item being exchanged and its immediate value at the point of exchange. The emphasis was primarily on the physical product, with less consideration for what happened after the exchange. This approach often neglected the role of customer engagement and the broader ecosystem in which the product operated.

The Service-Dominant Approach: Shifting Towards Value-in-Use

Contrastingly, the Service-Dominant approach introduces a radical shift in perspective. It posits that value is not inherent in the product itself, but rather in its utility and application – in other words, its value-in-use. From this viewpoint, the firm's offering is seen as a proposition for customers to realize value through their interactions with the product or service. Until the point where the customer derives value from its use, the offering remains only a potential source of value.

Navigating Disruption: The Pitfalls of Goods-Dominant Thinking

When facing disruption, businesses often need to rethink their strategies, products, and operations to stay competitive. However, approaching disruption through a Goods-Dominant lens might lead to less successful outcomes. This perspective tends to emphasize the transactional nature of resources and exchange value, inadvertently overshadowing the customer's role in realizing the value proposition.

The Goods-Dominant approach might not be the optimal strategy for achieving joint outcomes with customers, especially when the evolving landscape demands collaboration and shared responsibilities between businesses and customers. This one-sided focus on exchange can hinder the ability to adapt to disruption, as it overlooks the evolving needs and expectations of customers in a changing environment.

Embracing Disruption through a Service-Dominant Mindset

To navigate disruption effectively, businesses must adopt a Service-Dominant mindset that centers on the value-creating service system. This perspective acknowledges that all entities, whether products or people, contribute services to the larger ecosystem, which collectively generate outcomes. Such an approach promotes a deeper understanding of the customer's needs, behaviors, and aspirations, thereby creating more engaging and meaningful interactions.

The shift to a Service-Dominant approach encourages businesses to evolve beyond their conventional roles as providers and become collaborators in value creation. This means co-designing value propositions with customers and actively participating in the customer's journey to ensure the realization of value-in-use. By cultivating this engagement, businesses position themselves to discover innovative value propositions that align with the evolving needs of customers.


In an era where disruption is the norm rather than the exception, clinging to traditional Goods-Dominant perspectives can hinder a business's ability to thrive. The transition to a Service-Dominant approach empowers businesses to be more agile, responsive, and collaborative, setting the stage for innovative value creation in partnership with their customers. By embracing disruption with an open mind and a service-centric outlook, businesses can not only survive but also flourish in the face of uncertainty.

Profile picture

Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn