Regulatory enforcement is about influencing behaviour. In my research I apply insights from public management/administration, law, psychology and organization studies to build (and test) theory that improves our understanding of the effectiveness of different regulatory strategies.
A widespread underlying assumption in the regulation literature is that regulation is about changing regulatees behaviour, which implies that without regulation no one would show the desired behaviour. This is empirically incorrect. A better assumption would be to influence behaviour towards the desired behaviour. When regulatees voluntary comply, the regulator wants to reinforce and stimulate that behaviour; when other regulatees do not voluntarily comply, then interventions are needed that change that behaviour.
Research shows that trust stimulates compliance (e.g. Braithwaite and Makkai, 1994), but an regulatory attitude of the need for behavioural change assumes distrust. In the Dutch public debate a lot of people argue for regulatory distrust towards regulatees , but I argue that regulators should distinguish trustworthy regulatees from those who deserve distrust. This will be more effective. Research shows that regulatees who are normatively motivated to voluntarily comply yet experience procedural unjust treatment by the regulator based on distrust or unresponsive application of sanctions, have their intrinsic motivation to comply crowded out (Van Wijk and Six, 2014).
Responsive Regulation Theory (Ayres and Braithwaite, 1992) gives trust a central role, but used outdated conceptualizations of trust and under plays the complexity of trust building and repair processes. In Six & Van Ees (submitted) and Six (2013) we show how and why this is the case and how recent insights from trust research help to improve regulation theory.
PhD research projects
Karen Gussow (NVWA, Netherlands Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority), Detection of organizational crime (start 2013), co-supervisor (supervisor Wim Huisman, VU University).
Anne Bogaerts (ISZW, Inspectorate SZW), Managing inspectors as street-level bureaucrats/public professionals (start 2013), co-supervisor (supervisor Willem Trommel, VU University).
Armand Stokman (ILT, Inspectorate of Environment and Transport), decision-making processes of inspectors (start 2014), co-supervisor (supervisor Leo Huberts, VU University).
Marianne van der Veen (Onderwijsinspectie, Education Inspectorate), The influence of stakeholders on school boards (start 2014), co-supervisor (supervisors Willem Trommel (VU University) and Inge de Wolf (Maastricht University)).
Publications on regulation
Six, F.E. and K. Verhoest (eds) (in preparation, planned publication 2016). Trust in regulatory regimes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Six, F.E., H. Van Ees (submitted). ‘When the going gets tough: processes of trust building and repair in regulatory relations.’ In Six, F.E. and Verhoest, K. Trust in regulatory regimes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Six, F.E. and K. Verhoest (submitted). ‘Trust in regulatory regimes’. In Six, F.E. and Verhoest, K. Trust in regulatory regimes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Verhoest, K and F.E. Six, (in preparation). ‘Agenda for future research on trust in regulatory regimes’. In Six, F.E. and Verhoest, K. Trust in regulatory regimes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Six, F.E. (forthcoming, 2015). Regulating local emerging governance. In W. Trommel and H. Boutellier, Emerging governance, crafting and improvising in local welfare and security. The Hague: Eleven.
Van Wijk, E. and F.E. Six (2014). The dynamics of multiple motivations. Paper presented at ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance conference, June 25-27, 2014, Barcelona.
Six F.E (2013). ‘Trust in regulatory relations: how new insights from trust research improve regulation theory’. Public Management Review, 15/2: 163-185.