Collaborative Governance of Inter-organizational Relationships: The Effects of Management Controls, Blockchain Technology, and Industry Standards

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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Abstract

Over the past three decades, accounting scholars have shown significant interest in management accounting and control mechanisms that actors use to sustain inter-organizational relationships (IORs). At the same time, blockchain technology is increasingly emerging as an important organizational phenomenon, especially for collaboration across firm boundaries. Due to its multi-party nature, transparency, and ability to distribute control between legally independent entities, blockchain technology could profoundly impact on governance in IORs, potentially challenging widely held assumptions and findings of the existing literature on IORs in management accounting and related fields. Moreover, business-to-business interactions are increasingly dependent on standards to support innovation through inter-organizational collaboration that drives the emergence of complex industry-wide solutions such as digital infrastructures. However, the existing literature highlights our limited understanding of the management control and governance issues in such settings. To this end, this dissertation seeks to offer new insights related to management control and governance in multi-party settings that can include industry rivals, industry consortia, and standard-setting bodies that are engaged in inter-organizational collaboration with the aim of generating innovative solutions that leverage permissioned blockchain technology and are based on widely-accepted standards. These topics are discussed in detail in the three papers that comprise this dissertation.
The dissertation presents several contributions related to the aims stated above. Firstly, it contributes to the accounting literature on management control in IOR settings. It analyzes governance choices in the presence of blockchain by discussing technical and organizational aspects of permissioned blockchain technology, their effects on transaction hazards, and the corresponding management control remedies in IORs. Based on this analysis, Paper 1 presents a series of propositions that are further synthesized into an agenda for future research. Secondly, the dissertation presents findings on the reciprocal relationship between particular governance configurations and the organizations’ level of interest and willingness to contribute to industry-wide standardization efforts, based on a case study of two such efforts in the container shipping industry. These findings are presented in Paper 2, which further offers insights into how an industry need can be met through the collective action of independent organizations. Lastly, based on a longitudinal case study in the container shipping industry and the associated trade ecosystem, the dissertation presents novel insights into how digital infrastructure development can be governed in an inter-organizational and global setting by explaining interactions between different stakeholders at multiple levels. The findings documented in Paper 3 outline specific governance units and governance mechanisms and describe a pattern of nesting of governance that allows smaller “subunits” to deal with a global issue of digital infrastructure development collectively. In sum, this dissertation contributes by shedding light on management control issues and governance mechanisms involved in inter-organizational collaboration aimed at generating innovative solutions based on blockchain technology and the accompanying standardization processes that stabilize them.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages180
ISBN (Print)9788775680931
ISBN (Electronic)9788775680948
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesPhD Series
Number20.2022
ISSN0906-6934

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