Development of Norms Through Compliance Disclosure

Journal of Business Ethics 106 (1):73-87 (2012)
This article introduces compliance disclosure regimes to business ethics research. Compliance disclosure is a relatively recent regulatory technique whereby companies are obliged to disclose the extent to which they comply with codes, ‘best practice standards’ or other extra-legal texts containing norms or prospective norms. Such ‘compliance disclosure’ obligations are often presented as flexible regulatory alternatives to substantive, command-and-control regulation. However, based on a report on experiences of existing compliance disclosure obligations, this article will identify major weaknesses that prevent them from becoming effective mechanisms to discipline a certain type of behaviour. It will be argued that regulatory recourse to compliance disclosure obligations is nonetheless worthwhile if we view them as mechanisms that can initiate a dialogue about norm interpretation, application and norm desirability. From this perspective, compliance disclosure obligations serve less to discipline companies by making corporate practices transparent, and more to trigger a process of norm development, in which the law, companies and their stakeholders interact. This article provides an illustration of how mandatory disclosure, if it is restricted to a unilateral communication process, may produce no effective results (or even prove counterproductive), whilst highlighting the alternative potential of disclosure as an initiator of dialogue, supported by laws, geared towards the development and refinement of norms applicable to business in a global context and the values they promote.
Keywords Disclosure  Norms  Transparency  Compliance  Globalization
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,997
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Amitai Etzioni (2010). Is Transparency the Best Disinfectant? Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (4):389-404.

View all 10 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Cynthia Clark Williams (2007). Influences on the Scope of Corporate Disclosure Programs. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:118-120.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

30 ( #67,298 of 1,410,065 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #177,589 of 1,410,065 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.