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 6: The Other Side of the Compliance Relationship

Garry C. Gray and Susan S. Silbey


Garry C. Gray and Susan S. Silbey* INTRODUCTION Regulation research has traditionally been premised upon the regulator’s view of the regulated. When research does examine ‘the other side of the compliance relationship,’ it is often limited to the interactions between regulators and high level figures inside organizations (for example upper level management or a designated company compliance officer). By focusing on the role of the regulator in achieving regulatory effectiveness, researchers, inadvertently we presume, have given less attention to the contributions of middle and ground level workers to organizational compliance. Attending to the formal agents of law, researchers often miss the most predictable and thus powerful aspects of law and legality: its habitual quotidian enactment, particularly when the formal agents of law may be absent and its coercive force less visible (Ewick and Silbey, 1998; Silbey and Cavicchi, 2005). When designing this chapter and comparing several of our projects, it became clear that our collective approach to regulation research has resulted in important findings that are related to the conceptual ‘flipside’ of traditional regulatory studies. Some of our key findings directly or implicitly focus on how individuals within organizations who enact compliance day-to-day actually interpret and respond to regulation. Therefore, in this chapter, we recommend research that explores the other side of the compliance relationship: how the regulated view regulators. This chapter also represents our conceptual approach for a larger project that we are currently undertaking on how the regulated conceptualize regulators (Gray and Silbey, 2010). This work, which...

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