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 10: Regulatory Enforcement Styles and Compliance

Peter J. May and Søren C. Winter


Peter J. May and Søren C. Winter* INTRODUCTION The realities of regulation are shaped by the choices made by regulatory agencies and inspectors. This chapter considers variation in agency enforcement approaches, inspectors’ enforcement styles, and their implications for compliance. Despite a substantial body of research about these topics, basic issues are largely unresolved as to what constitutes enforcement style and the effects it has on compliance. Consideration of this topic may seem old fashioned given that much of the literature has moved away from addressing enforcement to considering how to bring about compliance through less coercive means and how to foster voluntary actions that go ‘beyond compliance’ – topics addressed in other chapters in this volume. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the dominant approach to regulation throughout the world still consists of monitoring adherence to rules and taking actions to bring violators into compliance with those rules. Confusion has been fostered by the way that scholars have used the term ‘enforcement style’ to refer to behaviors by different levels of actors in the enforcement process. These include consideration of differences in national styles of regulation (Day and Klein, 1987; Gormley and Peters, 1992; Vogel, 1986); variation in regulatory agency enforcement approaches (Braithwaite et al., 1987; Reiss, 1984; Scholz, 1994) and philosophies (May and Burby, 1998); and variation in the actions of inspectors (Kagan 1994; Mascini and Wijk, 2009; Nielsen, 2006) and the character of their interactions with regulated entities (Black, 1998; Lee, 2008; May and Wood, 2003; Pautz, 2009a). Though...

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