Blockchain Technology and the Sustainable Supply Chain: Theoretically Exploring Adoption Barriers
Assistant Professor of Operations and Industrial Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Professor of Management at the Foisie Business School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Blockchain technology is a disruptive technology with wide-ranging implications for corporate supply chain management. Nevertheless, there are behavioral, organizational, technological, and policy-related barriers that must be addressed before corporations are able to fully utilize blockchain technologies within their supply chains. Partners within a supply chain must agree on a common governance structure that’ll guide their interactions — one that informs how to trust and whom to trust, how to exchange value, and how power distribution occurs within a network. This governance structure should support business goals, optimize technological investment, and evaluate possible environmental and social risks and opportunities in blockchain-enabled sustainable supply chains.
The research team evaluated existing governance models for sustainable supply chain management. They then developed a conceptual framework that details the features and components of a decentralized and hybrid governance system and their implications for sustainable supply chain practices. Lastly, they evaluated the relationships between sustainability practices within a decentralized/hybrid governance environment.
The research project addressed the question: how can we best integrate the technological benefits of blockchain with the strategies, culture, and desired ethics of the supply chain partners and various external stakeholders? How can this integration of the technology help us to attain business objectives, capitalize on the utilization of this new technology, and orient development to achieve desirable sustainability objectives?
Data was acquired from industrial, academic, and governmental experts, who are interested in the study of blockchain-based supply chains and governance models and mechanisms.