Blockchain Technology's Impact on Supply Chain Relationships

Karoline Duus Korthsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Blockchain technology has in recent years been acknowledged as a separate technology with potentials outside managing cryptocurrencies. Research shows that blockchain is prospected to disrupt the traditional supply chain processes and management, particularly the role of the intermediary, as blockchain technology offers an information system where information is shared directly from peer to peer. Which lead to considerations of how relations within supply chains would be influenced if processes were changed to be managed by blockchain technology.

This thesis investigates how relations would be affected and change if blockchain technology were implemented. These relations constituted inter-organizational, intra-organizational and external environment relations. Discovering how the relations is impacted by looking into governance mechanisms, the role of power and trust, and ultimately how BCT impacts relations possibilities for generating relational rent. Building on a theoretical framework for discovering this perspective were a combination of the relational view, network theory, principal agent theory and a framework for understanding power and trust. A structured literature review were conducted and the data was compiled into a thematic analysis and coded within the three different types of relations. Additionally use-cases were considered as secondary data, to put the theoretical approach into a business perspective.

The analysis shows a strong correlation between conflicts of interests and lack of management support on the outcome of supply chain relations. Furthermore governance interactions and mechanisms projected a huge impact on the success of the relations and were identify to be closely related to trust and how intra-organizational structures were adapted. However when managed properly the analysis showed that BCT could have great impact on relations in terms of increased collaboration and performance, reduction of bull whip effects and the generation of relational rents.

It was concluded that for a successful relation to emerge with a BCT, considerations need to be given into the intentions for the collaborations as well as the organizational management and technological expertise. Furthermore it was concluded that blockchain technology, does not remove the need for trust within relations and comes with a complex technology that requires great attention from managers to generate value from it.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages93
SupervisorsKim Sundtoft Hald