Governance of Decentralized Organizations: Lessons from Ethereum

Michel Avital, Johannes Rude Jensen, Omri Ross

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


We explore the governance mechanisms of decentralized organization drawing on an empirical study of the open source blockchain project Ethereum. We identify three classes of governance mechanisms: control, coordination, and realignment, and compare governance praxis in centralized and decentralized organizations. The findings point to governing action through mutually affective processes between stakeholders and the organization as an emergent whole, in which we map articulations of governance to the process-ontological concepts code and territory. This informs a philosophical interpretation in which governing action is understood as both coding/decoding of norms and practices, and territorializing/deterritorializing of organizational boundaries through perceived shared notions of identity. We argue that interpretations of governance mechanisms in near-autonomous or stigmergic forms of a decentralized organization require a theoretical taxonomy emphasizing process over structure.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event11th International Process Symposium Organizing in the Digital Age. PROS 2019: Understanding the Dynamics of Work, Innovation, and Collective Action - Minoa Palace, Chania, Crete, Greece
Duration: 1 Jun 201922 Jun 2019
Conference number: 11


Conference11th International Process Symposium Organizing in the Digital Age. PROS 2019
LocationMinoa Palace
CityChania, Crete
Internet address

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