Token-Centric Work Practices in Fluid Organizations: The Cases of Yearn and MakerDAO

Nina-Birte Schirrmacher, Johannes Rude Jensen, Michel Avital

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


An emerging type of organization challenges the assumptions of what an organization is and how actors work: fluid organizations are characterized by continually changing templates of boundaries, decision-making, and task and role allocation. Increasingly, fluid organizations form around digital tokens, which resemble common shares in a corporation. In this study, we draw on the theoretical lens of practices to explore how the use of tokens shapes work in fluid organizations. We conduct a netnography among actors of two token-issuing fluid organizations in the decentralized finance sector. We identify token-centric practices that (i) leave actors striving toward a goal, giving rise to flexibility, and (ii) are institutionalized, giving rise to a structure. However, these practices also evoke tensions that the actors seek to continuously mitigate through action on a continuum of solutions to emerging problems. The findings contribute to the emerging literature on work in fluid organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42nd International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
EditorsAnitesh Barua, Ryan Wright, Atreyi Kankanhalli, Xitong Li, Shaila Miranda
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2021
Article number2141
ISBN (Electronic)9781733632591
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021: Building Sustainability and Resilience With is: A Call for Action - Austin, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202115 Dec 2021
Conference number: 42


ConferenceThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems


  • Work practices
  • Fluid organization
  • Tokenization
  • Decentralized finance
  • Netnography
  • Trace data

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