Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Social Auditing in the Global Apparel Supply Chain: Challenges From an Emerging Economy Perspective

  • Geetika Jaiswal (NC A&T State University)
  • V.G. Venkatesh (E M Normandie Business School)


International fashion retailers are often criticized for gaps in monitoring social compliance of their suppliers from developing countries. Currently, social auditing has emerged as a major retailer’s tool to manage suppliers’ social performance, however, involvement of multiple stakeholders presents several challenges. This study investigated the barriers of implementing social audits at suppliers’ base. Two research frameworks, agency theory and collective action theory guided this study. 17 Semi-structured interviews at Indian apparel industry were conducted. The data collected were transcribed, analyzed and interpreted. Three themes; Multi-tier supply chain structure; Collective action problem; and Behavioral uncertainty of supply chain members, surfaced. Theme analysis indicated an indirect monitoring of sub-suppliers, cultural/language differences, diverse motivations, distribution of unequal resources, and non-uniformity of standards, as major challenges to social auditing. It was concluded that a highly coordinated course of action is needed to minimize tensions at individual and collective levels to improve suppliers’ social performance.

Keywords: collective action, multi-tier supply chain, opportunistic behavior, social auditing

How to Cite:

Jaiswal, G. & Venkatesh, V., (2022) “Social Auditing in the Global Apparel Supply Chain: Challenges From an Emerging Economy Perspective”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 78(1). doi:



Published on
23 Sep 2022
Peer Reviewed