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Emergence in marketing: an institutional and ecosystem framework

Vargo, Stephen L.; Peters, Linda; Kjellberg, Hans; Koskela-Huotari, Kaisa; Nenonen, Suvi; Polese, Francesco; Sarno, Debora; Vaughan, Claudia

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Stephen L. Vargo

Hans Kjellberg

Kaisa Koskela-Huotari

Suvi Nenonen

Francesco Polese

Debora Sarno

Claudia Vaughan


Many core marketing concepts (e.g., markets, relationships, customer experience, brand meaning, value) concern phenomena that are difficult to understand using linear and dyadic approaches, because they are emergent. That is, they arise, often unpredictably, from interactions within complex and dynamic contexts. This paper contributes to the marketing discipline through an explication of the concept of emergence as it applies to marketing theory. We accomplish this by first drawing on the existing literature on emergence in philosophy, sociology, and the theory of complex adaptive systems, and then link and extend this understanding to marketing using the theoretical framework of service-dominant (S-D) logic, particularly as enhanced by its service-ecosystems and institutionalization perspectives. Our work recognizes both emergence and institutionalization as integral or interrelated processes in the creation, maintenance, and disruption of markets and marketing phenomena. We conclude by discussing implications for marketing research and practice.


Vargo, S. L., Peters, L., Kjellberg, H., Koskela-Huotari, K., Nenonen, S., Polese, F., …Vaughan, C. (2023). Emergence in marketing: an institutional and ecosystem framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 51(1), 2-22.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 7, 2022
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2023
Journal Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Print ISSN 0092-0703
Electronic ISSN 1552-7824
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 1
Pages 2-22
Keywords Marketing; Economics and Econometrics; Business and International Management
Public URL
Publisher URL


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