Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for supply chain traceability: industry considerations and consumer preferences

Dionysis, Symeon (2023) Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for supply chain traceability: industry considerations and consumer preferences. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

PDF (Corrections) (Thesis - as examined) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Available under Licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (24MB) | Preview


Several businesses and academic circles were quick to proclaim blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind digital currencies, as the solution to a plethora of industry challenges. That was especially true for supply chain management and traceability applications for coffee products, where the technology's features were viewed as a potential solution to longstanding issues of communication inefficiencies, production monitoring, and communicating provenance information to the end consumer. However, despite the excessive amount of investment, research, and experimentation, blockchain growth and adoption have stagnated. This thesis suggests that a plausible reason for the current gridlock the technology finds itself in lies in the absence of primary research that goes beyond its technical implementations and provides clear insights on both how industry professionals understand blockchain and structure their decision-making process to adopt it, as well as on how consumers perceive coffee products that utilise the technology for traceability and provenance purposes.

In attempting to fill that knowledge gap, add to the overall understanding of consumer perception of provenance and traceability information and, ultimately, provide companies and organisations with actionable suggestions and insights, this PhD answers two critical questions. One addresses how industry decision-makers perceive fundamental characteristics of blockchain and identify the determining factors for deciding whether they need to adopt and implement the technology in their supply chains. The second examines using blockchain as a traceability certification solution in the coffee industry, how consumers will perceive products that utilise it, and how it compares with existing traceability certifications in the market.

The online survey used to explore the views of industry professionals revealed that despite the overall positive attitudes around blockchain and the importance the technology plays in their future business plans, issues around regulatory compliance, operational frameworks and concerns around the role and nature of system participation are hindering broader adoption and implementation. Inevitably, the proposed decision- making flowchart revealed that blockchain was a suitable business solution for less than half of them. At the same time, a questionnaire based on an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour combined with an online experimental study on multiple coffee certifications revealed that consumers positively value the features offered by a blockchain traceability system and found it easy to comprehend the proposed phone app format of presenting provenance information. However, a possible equation effect emerged when blockchain was compared with multiple traceability certifications in a market-like environment, highlighting the importance of consumer awareness around provenance information and the importance of product differentiation. The multifaceted insights provided in this thesis can significantly contribute to helping businesses and organisations formulate their strategies for implementing blockchain in their supply chains while also adopting a user-centred approach of considering consumer preferences and attitudes around the technology.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Chesney, Thomas
McAuley, Derek
Keywords: Blockchains (Databases); Business logistics; Coffee industry
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 72246
Depositing User: Dionysis, Symeon
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2023 04:40

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View