Governing the gap between the law on the books and the law in action

Relational Regulation

Organizational practice is often observed to be loosely coupled to or decoupled from regulatory requirements. While we have increasingly sophisticated hypotheses for why some organizations are committed to achieving compliance, we continue to have an impoverished sense of how this commitment is successfully enacted. Susan Silbey and Ruthanne identify relational regulation as one means of doing so. Relational regulation articulates front-line managerial practices used to govern the gap between regulatory requirements and the daily operations of the organization, keeping organizational activities within an acceptable range of variation, close to compliant with regulatory specifications.

This work is influencing professional standards and regulatory policy in the UK and Canada. The Professional Standards Authority has used this concept in developing their Right-touch Reform framework for the assurance of professions.