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Ethical sourcing : an analysis of the literature and implications for future research

Kim, Seongtae; Colicchia, Claudia; Menachof, David


Seongtae Kim

Claudia Colicchia

David Menachof


The purpose of this study is to present a rigorous, focused review on how this field of ethical sourcing research has grown and evolved over the decades, providing implications for future research. We combine two research methodologies in this study: a systematic literature review and a citation network analysis. The former is used as a scientific tool to select the most relevant ethical sourcing articles, while the latter is then applied as a research technique to analyse these selected articles. Such a combined approach allows for a rigorous investigation into this field of research in a more scientific and objective way. Based on this approach, we identify (1) distinctive features of ethical sourcing studies such as growth trends and content issues; (2) important articles that have played a significant role in developing this field; (3) evolutionary paths that show how its knowledge has been created and transferred; (4) emerging trends that have received growing attention in the recent literature; (5) main research areas that underlie the entire ethical sourcing studies; and (6) major implications that need to be pursued in future research. The results of this study provide not only the current status of the literature but also the patters of evolution in this field of research, thus contributing to the existing literature.


Kim, S., Colicchia, C., & Menachof, D. (2018). Ethical sourcing : an analysis of the literature and implications for future research. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(4), 1033–1052.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2016
Publication Date 2018-11
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of business ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Publishing Company
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 152
Issue 4
Pages 1033–1052
Keywords Citation network analysis; Corporate social responsibility; Ethical sourcing; Main path analysis; Socially responsible sourcing; Sustainable sourcing; Sustainable supply chain management; Systematic literature review
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Journal of business ethics, 2018, v.152 issue 4.


Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2016<br /> Open Access<br /> This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

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