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Why, Where, and How are Organizations Using Blockchain in their Supply Chains? Motivations, Application areas, and Contingency Factors

Ahmed, W. A. H; MacCarthy, B. L.; Treiblmaier, H.


Assistant Professor in Information Systems

H. Treiblmaier


Blockchain is increasingly being considered for deployment in operations and supply chain management. However, evidence from practice is still scarce on why, where, and how organizations seek to apply the technology in the supply chain across different industries. The study develops a comprehensive framework to enhance understanding of the application areas of blockchain technology in the supply chain, as well as organizations’ motivations in seeking blockchain solutions and relevant contingency factors influencing applications.

We investigate 50 use cases of blockchain applications in the supply chain, covering six industries. We apply contingency theory and conduct a detailed qualitative textual and correlation analysis to identify and compare blockchain adoption motivations, application areas and contingency factors across the different sectors.

The analysis develops an evidence-based framework that captures ten principal motivations in seeking blockchain solutions, three main blockchain application areas along with important application sub-categories, and five clusters of contingency factors that determine blockchain deployment and its success in different industrial sectors.

Research implications
The study expands the limited cross-sectoral research on blockchain applications and motivations in the supply chain. Using contingency theory, we present a comprehensive framework that captures the drivers and factors relating to blockchain adoption in the supply chain in a nomological network. The study lays the foundation for further theoretical perspectives and empirical research to investigate relevant sectoral characteristics and their importance for different types of blockchain applications in the supply chain.

Practical implications
The study informs practitioners about potential supply chain application areas that can be enhanced through blockchain technology, taking account of the specific characteristics of their product, business and manufacturing processes, supply network configuration, industry standards, regulations, and market demand.

The study is the first to provide cross-sectoral evidence on the relevance of organizations’ motivations and numerous contingency factors on blockchain application areas in the supply chain.


Ahmed, W. A. H., MacCarthy, B. L., & Treiblmaier, H. (2022). Why, Where, and How are Organizations Using Blockchain in their Supply Chains? Motivations, Application areas, and Contingency Factors. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 42(12), 1995-2028.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 29, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 7, 2022
Publication Date Nov 10, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2023
Journal International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Print ISSN 0144-3577
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 12
Pages 1995-2028
Public URL
Publisher URL


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