Identifying the Root Causes of Human Rights Violation for Workers in International Supply Chains: A Systematic Literature Review

  • Nizar Shbikat
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Governance, Leadership and Responsibility book series (PSGLR)


The violation of labor rights in international supply chains has gained significant attention in both academia and civil societies over the past two decades. The aim of this chapter is to examine the existing literature in order to identify the possible root causes that contribute to the contemporary labor exploitation practices in international supply chains. The causes were defined through a systematic literature review and then grouped based on multi-stakeholder analysis. This enabled them to be represented graphically by cause-and-effect analysis. The analysis illustrates the interdependencies of causes which supports the argument that the violation of labor rights in international businesses is a “wicked problem” (Rittel and Webber in Policy sciences 4(2): 155–169, 1973) due to the complexity of global labor governance structures and conflicts of interests of different stakeholders. The outcome of this research offers stakeholders an insight into the labor issues in their supply chains and helps them develop appropriate solutions to upgrade labor rights.


Labor rights International supply chains Systematic literature review Cause-and-effect analysis 



The author gratefully acknowledges scholarship support from Kassel University and German Jordanian University. He also thanks the editors and the anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nizar Shbikat
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KasselKasselGermany

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