Paradoxes of power: Dialogue as a regulatory strategy in the Norwegian oil and gas industry
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSafety Science. 2021, 139, 105120. 10.1016/j.ssci.2020.105120
This paper explores how the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway applied dialogue as a key feature in the regulatory strategy and practice over a ten-year period from 2009 to 2019. The analysis, drawing on theories on regulation and sensemaking, explores power relations and identity construction in encounters between the regulator and regulatees. The data material comprises texts from web-sites, documents, investigation reports and focus group interviews. We conclude that the dialogue is embedded with paradoxes, infused with power, yet functions as a potent policy instrument. The power base of the regulatory authorities partly depends on enterprises’ and the industry’s need for a good reputation. We expand the theoretical framework by highlighting paradoxes of power and introducing the concepts of ‘sensesharing’ and ‘conditional sensegiving’.