Blockchain technology

This research project of Christian Martin and Peter Graeff will investigate the impact of blockchain technology on the role of intermediaries in organizations. We will compare four different ideal types of organizations. These types can be distinguished on one dimension by their relative importance of transaction costs for their operations. The other dimension pertains to the organization’s position as either between the private sector and the government.

We expect to find a differentiated impact of blockchain technology on the role of intermediaries in all four contexts. We hypothesize that blockchain adoption will be most readily embraced by actors in the private sector where potential transaction cost economies are large. Blockchain technology is least likely to be adopted in a government context with little transaction cost. The residual categories should be in an intermediate position with the specific outcome an effect of societal and political circumstances.

A special focus will be on the potential to minimize transaction costs within organizations by using permissioned (private) blockchains. Another area of research pertains to the interface between private and public entities. Generally speaking, this is the interface where compliance issues are most relevant to an organization’s operation. We will investigate the potential of blockchain technology to change the governance of compliance at these interfaces and within organizations.

When thinking about the potential of blockchain technology, one important issue to consider is stakeholder acceptance. Therefore, research into the regulatory implications and the governance of the societal environment to which blockchain technology is brought is an important matter. It seems plausible to assume that different organizations are of differentiated openness to the acceptance of new technology, irrespective of transaction cost savings. For further information, contact Christian Martin.