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On the very notion of compliance with some help from William James

Richard Raatzsch (EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht, Wiesbaden, Germany)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to reach more clarity regarding the notion of compliance, in particular with regard to relation between this notion and the notion of integrity.


The paper is a conceptual investigation, following a broadly understood Wittgensteinian approach.


The main result is: there is no such thing as compliance in the full sense of that word without integrity. Compliance without integrity is a pathological case of compliance.


So far, issues of compliance and integrity have either been treated as being essentially separate or as one coming in addition to the other one. If the paper’s argument is correct, this should no longer be accepted. The whole discussion should, instead, take another route.



The author thanks Manuel Dries (Oxford), Martin Eichler (Leipzig), Lorna Finlayson and Raymond Geuss (both Cambridge), Fabian Freyenhagen and Jörg Schaub (both Essex), Michael Hampe (Zürich), Christian Skirke (Amsterdam) and Janice Magel (Wiesbaden). The author also thanks two anonymous referees from JMD. No external research funding has been used for this paper.


Raatzsch, R. (2015), "On the very notion of compliance with some help from William James", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 76-89.



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