United Nations Global Compact: Literature review and theory-based research agenda
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The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) is one of the most important corporate social responsibility initiatives; its aim is to align companies’ strategies and operations with principles that involve human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption. After approximately 15 years of research on the UNGC, we provide a systematic literature review on this topic. We start with a keyword search of 96 papers on the UNGC. We then code these papers based on a deductive–inductive approach and classified them by year of publication, publication outlet, research focus, methodology, and underpinning theory. We frame and summarize the debate on the five main topics of UNGC literature, namely motivations driving the companies toward UNGC adoption, weaknesses, impacts, contextual factors affecting adoption, and contextual factors affecting performance. For each of the five streams of research, we identify several factors or variables that enrich the knowledge of it. Building on these findings, we identify various research gaps and develop a set of hypotheses for future empirical validation that are grounded on prominent theoretical frameworks, such as the stakeholder theory (in combination with the Human Resource Management literature) and the signal theory.