Civil regulation, the environment, and the compliance orientations of SMEs

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The article explores the impact of civil regulation on the environmental behaviour of SMEs. It shows that although civil regulatory pressures are generally subdued, and that conventional regulation continues to be an important driver of behaviour, there are circumstances where civil pressures nevertheless produce a ‘regulatory’ stimulus. Where they do, it appears civil regulatory pressures tend to derive from stakeholders pursuing relatively narrow self-interest (rather than public-interest) mandates; and they normally target particular issues rather than ‘social responsibility’ in any broad sense. SME responses typically take the form of compliance-reinforcing (rather than beyond compliance) measures. For SMEs, it is suggested that, in some circumstances, civil regulation provides a bespoke regulatory mechanism which is more likely to bring about changes in basic practices on narrow issues. It can also be seen as producing a particular type of consensual micro-social contract and public interest service.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-480
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date23 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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