Other (O2)

No need to trust? Blockchain technology and the consequences for trust in international business
(Poster presentation at the 48th European International Business Academy Annual Conference (EIBA) 2022)

List of AuthorsKarhu Anna, Palmunen Lauri-Matti, Pelto Elina

Conference nameEuropean International Business Academy Annual Conference (EIBA)

Publication year2022


The development of blockchain technology has been said to remove the trust issues in business transactions (Frolov, 2021; Beck et al., 2016). Indeed, the blockchain technology was created in the aftermath of the trust crises that followed the financial crises of 2008. Ever since, blockchain-based systems have been displayed as “trustless” alternatives to current financial institutions and even governments. As in the early stages of internet, blockchain technology appears to offer tremendous potential, but this potential is locked in the various layers of technological infrastructure development (Kietzmann & Archer-Brown, 2019).

Although this view on blockchain’s trustless nature has been strongly questioned, there still is a lack of research on whether and how blockchain technology could replace trust (De Filippi et al., 2020). Consequently, the purpose of this article is to explicate how blockchain techonology could eventually challenge and even change the sources of trust in the context of international business (IB).

Building on previous research on dimensions and sources of trust (e.g. Rousseau et al., 1998; Blomqvist, 1997; Flores & Solomon 1997), we develop a framework that presents how the adoption of blockchain technology can challenge and change the forms and sources of trust in the context of international business. The framework is built by analyzing how blockchain technology may eventually affect all institution-based, calculus-based and relational forms trust (see e.g. Rousseau et al., 1998) and influence the sources of trust in international business context on contractual, cognitive and affective levels.

Based on this analysis our study contributes to one of the core themes in IB, trust, and how blockchain technology may revolutionize the conceptualization of trust from mutual risk taking at individual or organizational level to more systematic mechanism. Specifically, we make three contributions to previous research: First, we extend the discussion on blockchain and trust (e.g. De Filippi et al., 2020; Beck et al., 2016) by detailing the sociological dimension of trust in public blockchains. Second, we contribute to the literature exploring the changing role of trust as mechanism in international strategies (Cuypers et al., 2021).  Third, we contribute by providing suggestions for future research on understanding the changing conceptualization of trust in international business studies.   

Last updated on 2023-08-02 at 11:36