What can we do to ensure compliance?

von Marion Ehmann

I have recently studied what behavioural science has to say about legal compliance. Scientists have studied questions such as “Why do people follow rules?” and “What do we need to do to make more people follow certain rules?” The body of research seems to me to be somewhat straggly and abstract and the results quite context-based. The questions that seems to have been studied the most is compliance with tax laws or, more to the point, how to make people pay their taxes correctly and on time. What can we learn from this body of research for the field of legal compliance? How should Compliance Officers in companies and their external advisors draft their compliance programs, courses and communications in order to increase the likelihood that employees will follow them? Some basic guidelines emerge from behavioural research, all of which should be a relief to companies, because the are able to cut the costs of ensuring compliance considerably:

Value-based approaches are more successful than approaches based on control and penalty: It works better to put compliance programs on a firm basis of “We do not pay bribes at this company, because we believe that bribes hurt the economy and society in general” as compared to “Don´t pay bribes, because we will control what you do and punish you for paying bribes”. That should make companies happy, since both internal monitoring and external audits of compliance are extremely costly. Plain language works best: People focus only on what they can understand. Therefore people are much more likely to follow the rules if they are drafted in a plain and simple way which everyone understands ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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