This story was written by Rawls Ph.D. student Arkapravo Sarkar.
Dr. Stephen L. Vargo recently visited the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University as the first speaker in the fall 2016 Ph.D. Distinguished Speaker Series. Dr. Vargo is the Shidler College Distinguished Professor in the department of marketing at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is internationally known, even outside the field of marketing, for his seminal work in the area of Service-Dominant (S-D) Logic.
During this visit, doctoral marketing students got an opportunity to interact with Dr. Vargo, specifically seeking his tips on the writing and the review process. Dr. Vargo suggested that the most important criteria in a potential research publication is problematization, which he explained was "finding and then succinctly defining a problem." He advised that once the problem was thus defined, the paper should then systematically proceed to resolve paradoxes and tensions. When asked to compare between empirical and conceptual papers, Dr. Vargo said that while empirical content is definitely very important in any research work, it is even more important to remember that the only contribution a research makes to the discipline is conceptual. Dr. Vargo also stressed the importance of thorough understanding of all the existing literature in one's area of research, so that one could "distinguish between new sense and non-sense." He mentioned that he himself looked at the whole of science as a way of interpreting nature and had little regard for disciplinary boundaries. To summarize, one should identify the problem, study existing literature, perform research to discover new findings, and reconcile those findings with existing literature - all of which will ultimately converge to the new argument or theory.
During the latter half of the day, Dr. Vargo made a presentation on 'S-D Logic: Foundations and Futures' for the entire marketing department at in the Rawls College. The presentation covered the journey of the Service-Dominant Logic theory from its inception in 2004 to the modern premises and axioms of the theory that have evolved over that period. Dr. Vargo mentioned how the current focus of their research was on institutions and institutional arrangements, which is a missing piece that would make the theory much more complete. The session ended with a round of Q&A's and with a small token of appreciation for the distinguished speaker.
To view photos from Dr. Vargo's lecture, please visit the Rawls College's Flickr account.This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.