Essays – The Definition and Meaning of Blockchain

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Daniels College of Business, Executive and Professional Education Programs

First Advisor

Conrad S. Ciccotello

Second Advisor

Mary Lacity

Third Advisor

Paul Olk

Fourth Advisor

Julia Dmitrieva


Blockchain, Business


Although blockchain is still in its infancy as an operational practice, world leaders actively discuss the concept. Businesses should develop and recognize the value of secure information as part of an exchange. Business progresses from checking on transaction behaviors to an implicitly trusted exchange of cryptographic digitization of shared knowledge. Strategic leadership teams investigate adaptive system responses for governance in which rivals are network partners. The study explains why embracing blockchain in terms of technology concepts, or short-term benefit mechanisms will overlook powerful principles that can lead to a breakthrough business model and a global trade phenomenon.

In essay one, we offer direction toward meaning as we filtered a sample of research from over 106,000 articles and examined the word “blockchain.” The research landscape contains many definitions but remains sparse, considering blockchain as an overall paradigm shift for business and leadership. People in the research community and industry want an easy-to-read and understandable explanation. We discovered a continuation of the research drift, which sustains concepts of terminological ambiguity and technical determinism. When asked “what is blockchain,” the answer is ambiguous because it pertains to the sphere of influence and currently lacks convergence. Research paths to empirical proof and industry adoption suffer. A consensus definition based on the word choices in published research is improbable.

In essay two, we examine a case study that represents a seven-year conversation continuum. We share the development of leadership, governance, and business ideas toward the future, leveraging the strengths of a top world corporation in FedEx. We are witnessing the rise of software capabilities, the adaption of business models, and the decreasing footprint of an enterprise information organizational structure. As the rise of transaction speed increases, the order-to-door delivery speeds diminish the capability at speed to morph businesses into the context of mainstream and market application increases. Leaders have to see the paths to organize and govern that allow them to evolve beyond internal delivery speed metrics.

The definition of blockchain is, at best, shrouded. Learning about the meaning takes two perspectives, industrial and institutional. Industrial is a story of technology and the inner mechanics to make blockchain functional. Institutional technology shifts the paradigm wholly to the business model adaption. Industrial elements and treatises toward cryptocurrency obfuscate the most authentic view of blockchain intent. A growing sentiment shared here is that this “b” word though relevant seems inadequate to capture the meaning. Blockchain is teased to the market but advances toward implementation often stall.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

Rights Holder

David A. Lacek


Received from author

File Format




File Size

175 pgs



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