This paper studies an overlooked, but highly important relationship, the relationship that exists between regulatory agencies (e.g., the EPA, OSHA, and the FDA) and the for-profit businesses they attempt to govern. Drawing on business-to-business control and satisfaction research, a framework is developed to understand how regulatory control influences the satisfaction levels of customer firms. Regulatory control is disaggregated into four distinct facets: the controlling agency, the rules and regulations of control, the processes used by the agency to apply the regulations, and sanctions. Each facet is hypothesized to have an effect on satisfaction. A regulator's administration of state food safety regulations provides the empirical context for testing the hypotheses. Results from a survey of 173 restaurants provide empirical support for the conceptual model. Most importantly, the study finds that the informal control process increases customer satisfaction, while the formal control process decreases customer satisfaction. We discuss how these and other findings may contribute to more effective agency-to-business relationships and ongoing research.
- regulatory policy