Trust and regulation: Insights from the mining industry

Petrina Schiavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This article develops Polanyi's (2001) theme of harnessing the regulatory capacity of a social sphere by focusing on trust as an emotion for framing risk regulatory regimes. Using the global mining sector as its focus, it explores the role of trust in the regulation and corporate management of social and environmental risk. Sociological perspectives on trust are employed to identify and analyze dynamics of trust in the mining industry. The article draws on data collected between 2004 and 2008 by way of participant observation, document analysis, and in-depth qualitative interviews with around 40 representatives of the mining industry, NGOs, and regulators. Trust-relationships are an example of harnessing the regulatory capacity of a social sphere, but they can also undermine regulatory effort where trust is abused. The effectiveness of trust-based regulation would be enhanced by sanctions for nonperformance that target corporate motivations and financial performance. This research focused on a selection of large, multinational mining corporations with a presence in Australia. Generalizations could not be made from this research about smaller mining entities or single-country or state-owned corporations. A better understanding of corporate trust-building behaviors and motivations can help inform more effective regulatory strategy for improving corporate, social, and environmental impacts. This article contributes to the body of knowledge about the regulation of the social and environmental performance of the mining industry. This is important as many of the remaining accessible mineral deposits across the globe are in areas of environmental and social significance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFrom Economy to Society? Perspectives on Transnational Risk Regulation
    EditorsBettina Lange, Dania Thomas, Austin Sarat
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Law Politics and Society
    ISSN (Print)1059-4337


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