This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review about the adoption of promising practices by organizations. The objective of the study was to gather empirical evidence to explain why the UK rate of promising practices adoption is poor compared with that of its competitors. The paper illustrates how a vastly dispersed collection of empirical data results can be integrated through a rigorous review process. The conclusion is that, although there is evidence to suggest that an adoption gap exists, the root causes of this gap cannot at present be diagnosed from the available evidence. Directions for future research are discussed.