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Brown, M (1997) Compliance with health and safety legislation: is deterrence the answer?. In: Stephenson, P (Ed.), Proceedings 13th Annual ARCOM Conference, 15-17 September 1997, Cambridge, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 363–71.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: compliance; instrumental; normative; deterrence; behaviour; legitimacy
- ISBN/ISSN: 0 86 339 759 X
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar1997-363-371_Brown.pdf
Laws are of little practical importance if people ignore them, therefore public compliance is central to the effectiveness of a law. An enforcing authority wishing to promote compliance must understand why people obey or disobey the law. Two contrasting theories have been suggested to answer this question - instumental and normative. The instrumental perspective underlies deterrent theory, it suggests that compliant behaviour is influenced by tangible, immediate incentives and penalties which are used by the individual to judge personal gains or losses. The normative perspective, in contrast, is concerned with the influence of what people regard as just and moral and their individual attitude of why they should voluntarily follow legal rules. health and safety legislation within the construction industry adopts an instrumental perspective by imposing strict duties on all parties to a project with a threat of punishment for non-compliance. This paper discusses variopus instrumental, normative and also social control mechanisms which can be used to integrate the concept of deterrence with normative control factors in order to achieve maximum compliance levels.