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Curtis Goldsby of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) department of Technology and Operations Management and his colleagues brought home an Academy of Management (AOM) award during the event’s 83rd edition. Held in Boston, Massachusetts, this year’s theme was Putting the worker front and center. For their work in blockchain technologies, Goldsby and his co-authors, Marvin Hanisch (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen) and Helge Klapper (Daniels School of Business, Purdue University, formerly RSM) won the AOM distinguished paper award of the Strategy Management Division in organizational structure, networks, and relational strategies.

Blockchains are peer-to-peer database technologies that enable secure and transparent digital exchanges within and among organisations, without the need for intermediaries. Given that they are free from costly middlemen, blockchains are considered revolutionary in the way they allow “trustless” exchanges between actors and enable rule-based automation, helping parties involved to reach agreements. The jury was particularly impressed by the paper’s rigorous methodology, which drew on rich qualitative evidence across three blockchain cases based on 56 interviews over three years and resulting in 414 pages of transcripts. Jury members consisted of the Strategic Management Division of the AOM, and the prize was awarded by Prof. Brian Wu of the University of Michigan.

Selected for its examination of governance challenges in interorganisational blockchain networks, the winning paper utilised a novel perspective of so-called organisational imprinting theory. Explains Goldsby, “The paper is about how initial decisions in blockchain networks persist, often subconsciously, over time. This is referred to as ‘imprinting.’ We show how such imprints can explain why some networks are successful in the long run and others are not. Winning this award underscores the receptiveness of the academic community to embrace conceptual perspectives, such as organisational imprinting, as novel lenses to explain the complexities of digital governance phenomena, including recent debates around blockchain in organisations. On a personal note, this award is a wonderful recognition for my part-time PhD studies at RSM.”

Next steps

Having won this award, Goldsby, Hanisch and Klapper are preparing their paper for submission to a leading management journal.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

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