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Making sense of blockchain technology: How will it transform supply chains?

Wang, Yingli, Singgih, Meita, Wang, Jingyao and Rit, Mihaela 2019. Making sense of blockchain technology: How will it transform supply chains? International Journal of Production Economics 211 , pp. 221-236. 10.1016/j.ijpe.2019.02.002

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Abstract

This research uses sensemaking theory to explore how emerging blockchain technology may transform supply chains. We investigate three research questions (RQs): What are blockchain technology’s perceived benefits to supply chains, where are disruptions mostly likely to occur and what are the potential challenges to further blockchain diffusion? We conducted in-depth interviews with 14 supply chain experts. Cognitive mapping and narrative analysis were deployed as the two main data analysis techniques to aid our understanding and evaluation of people’s cognitive complexity in making sense of blockchain technology. We found that individual experts developed different cognitive structures within their own sensemaking processes. After merging individual cognitive maps into a strategic map, we identified several themes and central concepts that then allowed us to explore potential answers to the three RQs. Our study is among the very few to date to explicitly explore how blockchains may transform supply chain practices. Using the sensemaking approach afforded a deeper understanding of how senior executives diagnose the symptoms evident from blockchains and develop assumptions, expectations and knowledge of the technology, which will then shape their future actions regarding its utilisation. We demonstrate the usefulness of sensemaking theory as an alternative lens in investigating contemporary supply chain phenomena such as blockchains. Bringing sensemaking theory to this discipline in particular enriches emerging behavioural operations research. Our contributions also lie in extending the theories of prospective sensemaking and adding further insights to the stream of technology adoption studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0925-5273
Date of Acceptance: 3 February 2019
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 13:35
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119397

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