The range of organizational responses to regulatory requirements is often explained by describing the organization as a monolithic actor interacting with external agents. We look inside regulated organizations, recognizing them as a web of transactions and norms, to examine how formal and informal organizational practices transform regulatory requirements into normalized activity. This article identifies four levers used at the coalface—or frontline—of the organization to encourage compliance in organizations: nudge (individual), bureaucracy (roles, rules, and procedures), relational governance (network), and organizational culture (assumptions, values, and artifacts). We map the range of research on coalface governance while displaying the assumptions and implications of each lever often embedded in recommendations to policy makers or organizational managers. We offer this continuum of techniques to invite a richer conversation about ways of pursuing compliance in organizations.


Ruthanne Huising and Susan S. Silbey. 2018. From Nudge to Culture and Back Again: Coalface Governance in the Regulated Organization, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 14: 91-114.