Variations in Self-Regulation: Understanding the Present (and reflecting on the future) By Considering the Past.
Research has explored trends in professional self-regulation, both documenting its decline, and its changing nature. However, in scholarly research robust definitions of self-regulation are seldom provided. Our knowledge of self-regulation is often based on models or generalizations made from single cases or countries. As a result our understanding of variations in patterns of self-regulation across time and place is limited. This paper explores these different definitions and understandings of self-regulation, and links them to different historical patterns of regulation across time in place, with a focus on Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Then it considers recent trends in regulation in each nation to reflect on how current regulatory trends have been shaped by historical regulatory traditions. Last, the paper discusses prospects for future trends in regulation, by considering how global trends combine with national traditions to shape regulatory change. I argue that we can understand current and future trends in regulation better, by understanding variations in regulation in the past.