Time: Friday, 2 December 2022, 10:30–12:00
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are a new form of organizing that are worth theorizing because of their potential to address collective action problems. As community-facilitated human-machine systems deployed on a blockchain, they rely on self-governance through smart contracts and voluntary member contributions. Yet, the promise of decentralization is difficult to sustain. To this end, this paper engages in phenomenon-based theorizing of DAOs by drawing on the lens of polycentric commons and examining the case of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) DAOs with a specific focus on MakerDAO. We contribute to the burgeoning literature on DAOs and new forms of technology-enabled organizing with a model explaining the transformational potential of DAOs through a set of three mechanisms (sustained participation, collective direction, and scaled organizing). This model explains how polycentric governance as implemented in DAOs helps address the inherent challenges of sustaining collective action in the commons.
Robert W. Gregory is Associate Professor of Business Technology at University of Miami Herbert Business School. He is also Research Fellow with MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). He holds a diploma (combined bachelor’s and master’s degree) in Management Information Systems from the University of Cologne, Germany, a master’s degree in International Management from the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS), and a Ph.D. equivalent, Dr. rer. pol., in Business Administration from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. He co-founded and serves as the outgoing president of the AIS special interest group on Digital Innovation, Transformation, and Entrepreneurship (SIGDITE). He serves as Associate Editor for Information Systems Research and Senior Editor for Journal of the Association for Information Systems, where he handles the ‘theory’ paper submissions. He received the Early Career Award from the global Association for Information Systems (2016) and the Best Reviewer Award from Information Systems Research (ISR) and Management Information Systems Quarterly (MISQ). Robert’s research program focuses on novel management and information systems phenomena related to the diffusion and innovation with digital technologies and the associated transformation of individuals, organizations, and markets. His research has appeared in premier journals, including MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, and Academy of Management Review. His teaching covers digital innovation and disruption, digital transformation, and product and project management across undergraduate, master’s, MBA, and executive levels and spans multiple countries and cultures. He has worked and collaborated with leading blue chip companies across Europe and USA.