Explaining Compliance
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Explaining Compliance

Business Responses to Regulation

Edited by Christine Parker and Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen

Explaining Compliance consists of sixteen specially commissioned chapters by the world’s leading empirical researchers, examining whether and how businesses comply with regulation that is designed to affect positive behaviour changes.
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Chapter 3: Motivating Compliance: Economic and Material Motives for Compliance

Sally S. Simpson and Melissa Rorie


Sally S. Simpson and Melissa Rorie INTRODUCTION The topic of regulatory compliance is by all accounts a complex one. In their introduction to this volume, Parker and Nielsen identify several general traditions in this regard, each with its own logic and empirical base. Of particular relevance for this chapter are the ‘mapping and measuring patterns of organizational responses to regulation and the factors associated with them’ and ‘testing theories that provide explanations for the association between concepts relevant to organizational responses to regulation and those responses themselves.’ Parker and Nielsen also point to some cross-cutting themes that focus on the ways in which organizations (or targets of regulation) respond to state and civil society controls – rules, restrictions and expectations for behavior that ostensibly will produce socially and economically desirable outcomes. In the discussion that follows we focus on the economic or material motivations that influence businesses to comply (or not) with regulatory dictates. Although the focus of the chapter is fairly narrow, our discussion acknowledges the importance of micro and macro distinctions and the linkages between organizational members and the company as a whole. We also recognize that economic motivations represent only one part of a broader set of motivational factors that affect compliance including social and normative considerations (which are considered by Kagan et al. and by Hutter in their contributions to this volume). This chapter is based on a series of studies conducted in the US by the senior author and other collaborators which consider two primary research...

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