Forming digital commons: The role of signaling and sociology of translation in decentralized systems

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractScientificpeer-review


Decentralization technologies, such as those based on blockchain technology, provide exciting possibilities to coordinate cooperative actions and contributions of multiple, independent actors, and facilitate the emergence of digital commons. This new organizational form faces unique challenges in the formation of trust and a shared identity, as digital commons are largely asocial ecosystems. We draw on signaling theory and sociology of translation to explain how narratives and protocols are formed in decentralized communities. We illustrate our main arguments by presenting the case of Tracey, a blockchain-based application for incentivizing sustainable tuna fishing and trade in the Philippines. We articulate how digital storytelling, as a mechanism of translation, supports in setting a preliminary shared set of protocols and identity for the digital commons. We explain why signals between the members further amplify and evolve the identity of the digital commons. Our conceptual paper contributes to discussions on decentralized technologies, digital commons, and ecosystem research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11067
JournalAcademy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


  • sociology
  • high-technology
  • business/innovation ecosystems


Dive into the research topics of 'Forming digital commons: The role of signaling and sociology of translation in decentralized systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this