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 4: The Psychology of Self-Regulation: Normative Motivations for Compliance

Tom R. Tyler


Tom R. Tyler INTRODUCTION Reactions to recent corporate scandals and regulatory failures in the business community have involved highly visible prosecutions of some offenders and the enactment of sanction-backed enforcement frameworks.1 This reflects the general deterrence model which broadly shapes American responses to regulatory issues. This chapter argues that deterrence mechanisms of the type being widely used are usually less effective than is generally believed, and are particularly unlikely to be optimal approaches to regulating the actions of those who work in business settings. In contrast, research findings suggest that efforts to build a value based climate of rule following are a promising approach that is likely to lead to more widespread voluntary acceptance of, and deference to, workplace rules and policies (Tyler et al., 2008). Studies suggest that there are viable strategies for building rule following based upon the belief that company rules are legitimate and company practices moral. These strategies rely on the strong link between procedural justice and values. Studies find that the primary factor shaping legitimacy, morality and rule adherence is the procedural justice that employees experience in their workplace. Overall this analysis highlights the important role that ethical judgments play in motivating both rule following and policy adherence among employees in work settings. Rule adherence among corporate employees is important in a wide variety of work settings, and potentially involves following organizational policies that cover, among other things, accurate accounting, conflicts of interest, product or service quality, environmental safety, sexual harassment, race, gender and/or sexual...

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