The Royal Spanish Academy of the Language defines compliance as the “action and effect of fulfilling or being fulfilled”. On the other hand, some standards define compliance in a circular way (almost redundant), stating that compliance is “compliance with all the organization’s compliance obligations (ISO 37301). Given the above and to clarify this concept a bit, “compliance” is a term used to understand regulatory effectiveness, mainly from a socio-legal perspective. Thus, compliance is associated with “regulatory compliance”, although this is rarely defined. Beyond particular definitions, compliance is understood from two perspectives, that of the regulated and that of the regulator, which incidentally, rarely fit together (Amodu, 2008). In the relationship of both actors, compliance would be the negotiated result of a regulatory meeting (Fairman and Yapp, 2005), which establishes the rules of the game.

From the perspective of those who are regulated, compliance would be the degree to which the regulated community complies with the regulations and their reasons for doing so. On the contrary, from the regulator (s) perspective, it would be the styles of regulatory enforcement (coercive or cooperative) used by the relevant agencies to ensure regulatory compliance (OECD, 2000). It should be noted that your interpretation of what “compliance” is may vary between them. To this complex scenario, which usually overlaps multiple agencies, we must add the existence of national or international standards. The latter could be seen as a more objective element than the circumstantial perceptions of the regulated community or the regulatory agency (Amodu, 2008).