It runs in the family: Meta-regulation and its siblings

Sharon Gilad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Regulators in different countries and domains experiment with regulatory tools that allow organizations to adapt regulation to their individual circumstances, while holding them accountable for their self-regulation systems. Several labels have been coined for this type of regulation, including systems-based regulation, enforced self-regulation, management-based regulation, principles-based regulation, and meta-regulation. In this article, these forms of regulatory governance are classified as belonging to one family of "process-oriented regulation." Based on a review of diverse empirical and theoretical research, it is suggested that the family of process-oriented regulation tends to have a positive, albeit varied, impact on organizations' performance, and the factors that shape this inconsistent effect are analyzed. Building on aspects of Parker's normative construct of "meta-regulation," the article explores the extent to which her innovative notion of a learning-oriented approach to regulation might overcome some of the weaknesses of prevalent process-oriented approaches. It is proposed that under conditions of regulatory uncertainty or entrenched and prevalent non-compliance or both, meta-regulation is likely to have many advantages over other forms of process-oriented regulation. Yet realizing these advantages requires a rare combination of high regulatory capacity, a stable regulatory agenda, and a supportive political environment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)485-506
Number of pages22
JournalRegulation and Governance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Enforced self-regulation
  • Management-based regulation
  • Meta-regulation
  • Principles-based regulation
  • Process-oriented regulation
  • Regulatory governance
  • Self-regulation


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