Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 38 Number 2 2021 pp. 338-373

Use Of Blockchain As A Resource For Combating Corruption In Global Shipping: An Interpretive Case Study

Sarker, Suprateek, Henningsson, Stefan, Jensen, Thomas, and Hedman, Jonas


Corruption is one of the most troubling societal challenges facing businesses today. Businesses have been combating corruption in fragmented ways, sometimes by creating anti-corruption policies applicable to certain stakeholders and, at other times, by harnessing digital technologies. Recently, the power of blockchain, with its capacity to provide full transactional disclosure and thereby reduce uncertainty, insecurity, and ambiguity in transactions, has been touted as being a game changer in the fight against corruption. Based on a study of the global shipping industry, we find that blockchain mitigates both process and document-related corruption. Based on these findings, we develop an understanding of how corruption may be combated using both social and digital/informational resources, including blockchain technology. Our model, drawing on past work on corruption, shows the complex interplay between identity, institutional actors, technical and other resources, and practices, and we develop conditions that could be effective in fighting corruption by using technologies such as blockchain.

Key words and phrases: Blockchain, corruption, fraud prevention, global shipping, anti-corruption methods, interpretive case study