Consensus through Blockchains: Exploring Governance across interorganizational Settings

Rafael Ziolkowski, Gianluca Miscione and Gerhard Schwabe

International Conference of Information Systems (ICIS 2018), San Francisco, USA, 12-16 December 2018.

Abstract

The blockchain technology challenges the view on established modes of governance by offering distributed authentication without the need for a central authority, which is well-exemplified by Bitcoin. While the governance of and through Bitcoin is well- accentuated in research, we spotlight impacts on governance which blockchain-based systems bring to inter-organizational settings as well as their purpose. To build our arguments, we explore those impacts on two contrasting cases from the domains of automotive and public administration and relate them to cryptocurrencies. Relying on interviews with experts from said organizations utilizing blockchain technology, and a content analysis of related grey literature, we discuss established forms of governance as well as platforms and infrastructures against the impacts which blockchain-based systems cause. After referring those to the concepts of markets, hierarchies, networks, and tribes, we critically reflect on their purpose by utilizing the notions of infrastructures and platforms, and conclude blockchain-based systems to possibly alter the way established modes of governance are enacted.