Oxford Brookes Business School
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The paper critically re-examines product life-cycle (PLC) theory, developed over fifty years ago. Despite prevalence in marketing pedagogy and continued popularity within empirical research, PLC is seldom challenged. The paper identifies the organisation-centric construct underpinning the theory and highlights a disconnection between PLC theory and the recent academic insight around customer engagement. It reconceptualises the life-cycle concept based on engagement between stakeholder and non-profit organisation (NPO), structured upon both the market orientation and social exchange constructs. The revised framework maps stakeholder engagement with the NPO through the five stages of incubation, interaction, involvement, immersion, and incapacitation. The paper concludes with identifying a roadmap for future empirical research to develop and validate the re-envisaged conceptual model. The methodology used is narrative literature review supported by secondary research from specialist practitioner reports.