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BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL NETWORKS: COLLABORATION, COMPETITION, AND GOVERNANCE
This dissertation investigates the strategic implications of blockchain technologies on interorganizational collaborations. Recently, blockchain technology has been permeating a broad range of industries and impacting how organizations conduct business. Rather than a traditional industrial technology that boosts productivity, blockchain should be viewed as an institutional technology that influences collaborative relationships among business agents. This dissertation endeavors to (partially) answer the overarching question that, from the point of view of cooperative strategies, what are the implications of blockchain technology for those involved organizations?
One of the major theoretical arguments of this dissertation is that blockchain technology offers a new way of organizing collaborations. It works as a governance mechanism that is different from traditional social mechanisms—contractual and relational governance. Specifically, it provides a unique approach to enforcing agreements automatically through codes and algorithms. It also differs from other information technologies, such as EDI, in terms of the capacity to enforce agreements and govern collaborations. Furthermore, it acknowledges that blockchain governance has its limits – it can only efficiently organize explicit collaborations while is less efficient on tacit ones. Nevertheless, understanding the new governance logic with blockchain technology has important implications for managers in choosing the right strategic tool to organize collaborative efforts with other organizations.
The new organizing approach by blockchain technology also enhances the scalability of governance and enables an increasing number of multiparty collaborations. By reviewing the alliance literature, this dissertation suggests that multiparty collaborations have unique features that deserve separate scholarly attention from well-studied dyadic alliances. Focusing on the increased number of collaborators with blockchain technology, this dissertation investigates the performance heterogeneity of blockchain consortia and its determinants. It challenges the conventional view in the multiparty alliance literature that the number of firms negatively impacts alliance performance. By differentiating between short-term and long-term performance of blockchain consortia, it argues that the compositional characteristics of each blockchain consortium’s founding group have an impact on its performance. Empirical results from a sample of blockchain consortia show that, although the size of the founding group is negatively related to consortium performance in the short term (in terms of the speed to complete piloting), it is positively associated with performance in the longer run (in terms of survival and growth). Specifically, the long-term performance effect is explained by the composition of the founding group, in terms of the diversity of industry sectors and the number of competing ties. The findings have direct implications for scholars and managers in understanding the strategic trade-offs of leveraging the business potentials of blockchain technology.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- West Lafayette