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Influencing Factors of Blockchain Implementation in Food Supply Chains

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posted on 2024-07-01, 00:00 authored by Minh Chi Pham
This thesis presents an in-depth qualitative study, investigating the factors that influence the implementation of blockchain-enabled food supply chains (FSCs). The implementation of blockchain in FSCs has recently gained significant academic and practical attention. Food safety is critical for human health; and societal values in the food sector are significant, but traceability and information sharing on FSCs are problematic and less efficient. Blockchain implementation has the potential to address these issues, but the influencing factors of blockchain-FSC implementation are not firmly established in the current academic and industry literature. Blockchains have limitations and constraints when adopting in FSC contexts, and research and practical knowledge is not sufficient to support the real-world implementation. Therefore, this research sought a deeper understanding of this phenomenon, by answering the research question “What are the factors that impact the implementation of blockchain-based FSC solutions?” A grounded theory method was used to analyse the data. The research was divided into two stages, using secondary data sources and interviews sequentially. First, secondary data sources, such as international newspapers and whitepapers, were explored. Second, interviews were conducted with 23 experts including blockchain developers, FSC stakeholders (farmers, manufacturers, retailers, government officials) about their experience in implementing real-world blockchain-FSC solutions. The first outcome of the analysis was an exploratory case study to reflect on the implementation context in a developing country with lack of research focus, which was deemed as a pilot study. The second and main outcome of this research was the development of a cohesive theoretical framework to denote the overarching landscape of blockchain-FSC implementation in general. The theoretical framework of this thesis comprises of four domains that blockchain-FSC implementation should include, which are shown as follows. [1] The motivation for the blockchain-FSC solution implementation indicates the acceptance of blockchains and the transformation of FSCs from a problematic and less effective status quo into a blockchain-FSC solution, with new and better potential benefits for the industry. The motivation also denotes the evolution of blockchains in FSC operations, where the stakeholders continue to enhance their businesses by continuously improving the blockchain-FSC solutions. [2] Key challenges indicate hurdle requirements which need to be understood and addressed when designing and negotiating among FSC stakeholders and blockchain developers. The challenges are broken down into four hierarchical levels, namely: technical, organisational management, inter-organisational relationship and food industry issues. [3] The digitalisation scope of blockchain in FSCs and the usage of blockchain technology characteristics to develop blockchain-FSC solutions are considered in this third domain. Customisations of blockchain technologies to develop blockchain-FSC solutions are also critical. The solution built upon blockchain platforms includes issues of application layers, such as blockchain literacy, scalability, usability, platform development and interoperability for blockchain connection with enterprise systems owned by FSC stakeholders, and cross-blockchain connection. [4] Values and operational controls of blockchain-FSC solutions describe expectations and necessary customisations relating to innovation, business and governance models and expected value creation when operating a blockchain-FSC solution. Expectations on value creation with blockchain-FSC solutions include the economic, social and environmental value goals that FSC stakeholders want to achieve when implementing blockchains. These new benefits are impossible to achieve by using prior existing technologies in FSCs. The understanding from this study enables future research to explore the important factors and issues necessary for blockchain-FSC solution implementation and to investigate the relationships among these factors to address the implementation challenges simultaneously. The findings also serve as guidelines for industrial practitioners to learn about their future implementation projects.

History

Degree Type

Doctorate by Research

Copyright

© Minh Chi Pham 2023

School name

Acct, Info Sys & Supply Chain, RMIT University

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