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Circumstances under which government guidance impacts on the actions of directors of corporate bodies

This report presents a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of the literature on circumstances under which government guidance impacts on the actions of directors of corporate bodies and organisational behaviour as a whole. The research team identified one hundred and forty-two studies available from electronic databases and websites of organisations as potentially relevant; key findings from seventeen studies that met the scope of this review are presented. The report describes evidence on impacts of guidance on organisational change through a model of the process by which guidance is received, implemented, and established within organisations. For each stage of the process, the model helps to identify factors that may act as barriers or facilitators to the implementation of guidance. The report presents evidence on successful implementation of guidance in terms of four key stages: responsibility to take forward, factors associated with successful implementation, factors responsible for compliance and outcomes associated with guidance. Most of the data the research team uncovered was ‘process’ data concerning perceptions of factors likely to affect the implementation of guidance, rather than ‘outcome’ data. The studies we have included in the review are mainly from the UK, with only limited data coming from non-UK studies. The review has identified several key implications for bodies wanting to maximise the impact of guidance. They include the potential benefits that could accrue to: tailoring guidance to suit specific sectors and types of organisations; considering ways of supporting effective implementation; and consulting with key stakeholders including trade unions and representative bodies.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-06-24