The SA8000 social certification standard: Literature review and theory-based research agenda
Di Mauro C
MetadataShow full item record
Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000) was one of the first auditable social standards aimed at promoting labor rights for workers around the world. This certification is currently considered the most important in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). After approximately 15 years of research on SA8000, we provide the first literature review on this topic. We analyze 56 scientific papers that address key issues concerning SA8000, including the advantages of the adoption of the ethical certification and the obstacles to adoption and management, and provide a comparison with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards and with other CSR standards and codes of conduct. Papers are coded following a deductive–inductive approach, and classified by year of publication, publication outlet, research focus, methodology, underpinning theory (if any), unit of analysis, sample size, industry, and country. Building on literature findings, we identify various research gaps, stemming from the scarcity of empirical research and the weakness of theoretical foundations. In particular, we highlight the lack of evidence on the impact of organizational-level factors on the adoption of the standard, on the extent of the trade-off (if any) between positive and negative outcomes of SA8000, and the failure to identify moderators of the relation between antecedents and SA8000 adoption and/or between adoption and outcomes. Finally, we propose a theory-based research agenda on SA8000 for OM scholars, based on Transaction Cost Economics, Agency, and Neo-Institutional theories and focused on three classes of relevant problems: governance structure under SA8000, risk sharing between buyers and suppliers, and effects on operational performance.