Blockchain business networks : Understanding the value proposal within centralized and decentralized governance structures
Abstract: Purpose – increasing the understanding of what distinguish a decentralized from a centralized blockchain business network and identify its value creating mechanisms. To fulfill this research purpose, three research questions have been derived, RQ1: What distinguishes a decentralized from a centralized blockchain business network?, RQ2: How are the blockchain business network values affected by a decentralized vs centralized network model? and RQ3: Which value creating mechanisms exists within decentralized blockchain networks? Method – This study was conducted as an abductive explorative study with interviews of actors that works with their own blockchain or is an expert in the subject, respondents from 9 different industries were participating. In total 25 interviews were held in two phases and they were together with a workshop analyzed through a thematic analysis. Findings – The findings from the study resulted in a framework including four separate areas, namely, Governance models, Blockchain values, Business network values and Value creating mechanisms. There were three governance modes, Lead organization, Network administrative organization and Participant owned organization. Furthermore, this study has resulted in 12 blockchain values, 11 network values and 9 value creating mechanisms. Theoretical and practical implications – This study gives an answer to the question what distinguish the decentralized and centralized nature of a blockchain business network, stating that the most value critical factor is the choice of network governance model. Furthermore, additional examples of blockchain and network values have been presented and those values have been analyzed through three different governance models. Also, the 9 value creating mechanisms have been described and analyzed from a decentralized blockchain network perspective. The practical implications give managers insight of which value creating mechanisms that exists for a decentralized blockchain business network, an understanding that could help them decide on if blockchain fits their business needs or not. Lastly, by providing an overview of which the strengths and weaknesses are of different governance models for a blockchain business network, managers could better align their network governance. Limitations and future research – Due to the explorative nature of this study these frameworks and relationships are built from our research and will need future validation from similar study to test its applicability in a larger extent. Hence, future studies with these frameworks and matrixes as reference point would be interesting.
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