The Struggle is Real: Adoption Insights from a Supply Chain Blockchain Case

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Despite the anticipated benefits and the numerous announcements of pilot cases, we have seen very few successful implementations of blockchain technology (BCT) solutions in supply chains. Little is empirically known about the obstacles to blockchain adoption, particularly in a supply chain’s inter-organizational setting. In supply chains, blockchains’ benefits, for example BCT-based tracking and tracing, are dependent on a critical mass of supply chain actors’ adopting the technology. While previous research has mainly been conceptual and has lacked both theory and empirical data, we propose a theory-based model for inter-organizational adoption of BCT. We use the proposed model to analyze a unique, in-depth revelatory case study. Our case study confirms previous conceptual work and reveals a paradox as well as several tensions between drivers for and against (positive and negative determining factors, respectively) of BCT adoption that must be managed in an inter-organizational setting. In this vertical context, the adoption and integration decision of one supply chain actor recursively affects the adoption and integration decisions of the other supply chain actors. This paper contributes mid-range theory on BCT in supply chain management (SCM), future research directions, and managerial insights on BCT adoption in supply chains.
Authors Sternberg, Henrik; Hofmann, Erik & Röck, Dominik
Projects Hofmann, Prof. Dr. Erik; Röck, M.Sc. Dominik; Mathauer, M.A. HSG Mathias; Enthoven, M.Sc. ETH Maximilian & Langner, M.Sc. Daniel (2018) SNF: Foundation of distributed ledgers in supply chain management: Theory development, practical applicability and critical reflection [fundamental research project]
Journal or Publication Title Journal of Business Logistics
Language English
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SoM - Business Innovation
Refereed Yes
Date 25 March 2020
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Page Range 1-17
ISSN 0735-3766
Publisher DOI
Official URL
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann
Date Deposited 25 Mar 2020 16:55
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:41


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Sternberg, Henrik; Hofmann, Erik & Röck, Dominik (2020) The Struggle is Real: Adoption Insights from a Supply Chain Blockchain Case. Journal of Business Logistics, 1-17. ISSN 0735-3766

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