MRA: Rule Deviations and Preventive Action Constellations (FoF 4)

How can we explain and prevent rule deviation within and across organizations in system-relevant areas? These days, organizations such as companies, hospitals, and state bureaucracies face an increasing number of rules, statutes, and laws. At the same time, societal demands on their own "self-regulation" is on the rise.  Compliance and continuous observance of laws, nonetheless, are indicative of institutions and organizations' inability to live up to these expectations. Evidence of that are the growing number of court cases and public scandals of rule-breaking. From these observations follows the assumption that a further expansion of rules and sanctions alone might not be purposeful. Instead, focusing on the question of where exactly – on which of the different levels (institutions, organizations, or individuals) – are the obstacles could be a more productive alternative to comprehend what stands in the way of rule compliance and the possibilities to overcome these obstacles.

To answer the above questions, scholars at Heidelberg University have set up an interdisciplinary research group comprised of four interdisciplinary fields: economics, political science, sociology, and law. The project "Rule Deviations and Preventive Action Constellations" (Field of Focus 4) will take an evidence-based approach to provide a base of scientific work on the effectiveness of preventive measures through methods from the humanities/social sciences in collaboration with other subjects such as psychology, education studies, and art history.

In addition to scientific findings, knowledge and practice transfer are one of the project's central goals. The main question here is how to take preventive action in the face of omnipresent collective rule-breaking. Accordingly, the results of the research project shall also offer foresight and be systematically translated into policy recommendations, rendering the efforts relevant both for science and for practice.