Events at UBC Sauder

Workshop: Organizing Decentralization for Societal Benefit

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On May 25th, 2020 the W. Maurice Young Centre for Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Research, in collaboration with Blockchain@UBC, will host an online interactive conversation on the promises and limitations of distributed trust technologies.

The Workshop brings together individuals from academia, industry, and the public sector that work with blockchain and other distributed trust technologies to:

  • Explore the decentralization of organization as an unfolding process
  • Illuminate progress, opportunities, and challenges around the ongoing decentralization of organization
  • Discuss how people working with distributed trust technologies and organizational scholars can collaboratively study and inform this process.



Emerging distributed trust technologies (“DTTs”) (Seidel, 2018) such as blockchain are enabling new kinds of organizational forms built atop distributed digital protocols (Beck, Avital, Rossi, & Thatcher, 2017; Beck, Müller-bloch, & King, 2018; Catalini & Gans, 2016; Seidel, 2018).

In concert with other technologies, DTTs could help to realize a wide range of potential benefits, ranging from the direct enhancement of existing processes to the formation of fully “decentralized autonomous organizations” (DAOs) (Murray, Rhymer, & Sirmon, 2020) that could fundamentally transform a wide range of social, business, and economic domains.

Proponents present an array of blockchain-based decentralization benefits, including vast efficiency gains, information transparency, security, individual privacy, equity, and empowerment. The potential for societal benefits is immense.

However, these outcomes are by no means foregone conclusions. The growth of the internet held similar promise, and in many ways failed to do so due to organizational challenges. Many organizational challenges remain to be solved to avoid a repeat, and ensure a positive societal impact of these new technologies.

We need the collaborative expertise of people working with DTTs and organizational scholars to solve these challenges in a way that will benefit society. 

For DTTs to transform organization and society, a number of assumptions must be met, and many of these are likely unknown to us at present. The workshop is intended to uncover these challenges and encourage the initial collaborative conversations to start solving them.

How to register

The Workshop will be an interactive online facilitated process to identify challenges, the domains of expertise relevant to these challenges, and the potential path(s) to generate knowledge to solve these challenges. We welcome participants from academia, industry, and the public sector to ensure a diversity of perspectives and rich discussion.

Please express your interest in attending by e-mailing a brief bio to


Participation is free, but there is limited space, so please express interest early.


Beck, R., Avital, M., Rossi, M., & Thatcher, J. B. (2017). Blockchain Technology in Business and Information Systems. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 59(6), 381–384.

Beck, R., Müller-bloch, C., & King, J. L. (2018). Governance in the Blockchain Economy: A Framework and Research Agenda. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 19, 1020–1034.

Catalini, C., & Gans, J. S. (2016). Some Simple Economics of the Blockchain (30). NBER Working Paper. Cambridge, MA.

Murray, A., Rhymer, J., & Sirmon, D. (2020). Humans and Technology: Forms of Conjoined Agency in Organizational Routines. Forthcoming in Academy of Management Review.

Seidel, M. L. (2018). Questioning Centralized Organizations in a Time of Distributed Trust. Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(1), 40–44.