UCL School of Management

Research project

Decentralizing Capitalism & Digital Platforms


The rise of blockchain and related technologies alters the traditional structures of capitalist economies. At a macroeconomic level, blockchain enables new competition in the realm of money, a sector where the state has typically enjoyed a sovereign monopoly. At an organizational level, blockchain allows decentralized forms of organizing, manifest in the rise to prominence of large global organizations that command billion-dollar market valuations, yet operate without managers or even employees (e.g., Bitcoin). Since we can now “manage” without “managers”, we need to rethink some basic assumptions that underpin the business world and design new frameworks for navigating 21st century capitalism.


Selected publications

Vergne, J. P., & Swain, G. (2017). Categorical Anarchy in the U.K.? The British Media's Classification of Bitcoin and the Limits of Categorization. null (pp. 185-222). doi:10.1108/S0733-558X20170000051005 [link]
Wang, S., & Vergne, J. P. (2017). Buzz Factor or Innovation Potential: What Explains Cryptocurrencies’ Returns?. PLoS One, 12 (1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169556 [link]
Hsieh, Y., Vergne, J. P., Anderson, P., Lakhani, K., & Reitzig, M. (2018). Bitcoin and the rise of decentralized autonomous organizations. Journal of Organization Design, 7 (14). doi:10.1186/s41469-018-0038-1 [link]
Hsieh, Y., Vergne, J. P., & Wang, S. (2017). The internal and external governance of blockchain-based organizations: Evidence from crypto-currencies. In M. Campbell-Verduyn (Ed.), Bitcoin and Beyond: Blockchains and Global Governance (pp. 48-68). Routledge.
Vergne, J. -. P. (2018). Disrupting the IPO. Ivey Business Journal.
Durand, R., & Vergne, J. P. (2012). The Pirate Organization: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review Publishing.
Vergne, J. P. (2014). The Year Capitalism was Turned Upside Down. The New Criticals.
Vergne, J. P. (2020). Decentralized vs. Distributed Organization: Blockchain, Machine Learning and the Future of the Digital Platform. Organization Theory, 1 (4), 263178772097705. doi:10.1177/2631787720977052 [link]
Hsieh, Y., & Vergne, J. P. (2022). The Future of the Web? The Coordination and Early‐Stage Growth of Decentralized Platforms. Strategic Management Journal. doi:10.1002/smj.3455 [link]
Last updated Thursday, 15 September 2022


Research groups

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Research areas

Organization theory; Strategic management

Research topics

Adaptation; Bank regulation; Business strategy; Collaboration; Competitive advantage; Coordination; Digital transformation; Management of technology; Organisational design; Platforms and two-sided markets; Technology strategy