Shifting trust in construction supply chains through blockchain technology


Blockchain technology is booming in many industries. Its application in supply chain management is also gradually increasing. Supply chain management (SCM) has long been committed to reducing costs and increasing efficiency and is trying to optimise resources and reduce the sector’s fragmentation. Trust has always been an important factor in managing supply chain relationships, and it also affects the efficiency of supply chain operations. To this end, this study aims to examine how trust is affected by the introduction of blockchain technology in construction supply chain management. This study is based on semi-structured interviews and publiclyavailable information from experts in blockchain and construction supply chain management. Through content analysis, the data is analysed thematically to explore how various types of trust, such as systembased, cognition-based and relation-based, are affected by blockchain technology. Blockchain technology provides solutions for data tracking, contracting and transferring resources in supply chain management. These applications help enhance the various sources of trust in SCM and provide supply chain partners with protection mechanisms to avoid the risks and costs of opportunistic behaviour in collaboration, shifting trust from relational to system-based and cognition-based. This study focuses only on inter-organisational rather than interpersonal trust and empirical data from experts whose knowledge and cognition could be subjective. Leveraging the potential of digitalisation to manage trust requires that leaders and managers actively try to improve contractual arrangements, information sharing and being open to new innovative technologies like blockchain. From a relational view of supply chain management, the extent to which blockchain technology can develop and spread depends on the readiness of the social capital to accept decentralised governance structures. This study builds upon an original dataset and discusses features and applications of blockchain technology, explores the sources and dimensions of trust in supply chain management and explains the impact of blockchain technology on trust.

In the journal of Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management (ECAM)
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Associate Professor in Management of Engineering Projects

Researcher and consultant at the intersection of management and digital economy