Regulation - the movie: a semiotic study of the periodic review of UK regulated industry

David Crowther, Stuart M. Cooper, Chris Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the regulatory process of UK privatised utilities as manifest in the periodic review of prices. Two separate review processes are identified, operating concurrently - a covert dialogue between the regulator and the regulated and an overt dialogue taking place in the public arena. Using a semiotic analysis of the review the authors argue that the overt event is the real review. Furthermore they argue that the unfolding of each review is so similar that it can be likened to a film script which is constantly re-enacted. The purpose of the review as a legitimating vehicle for the regulator and regulated, who exist in a symbiotic relationship, is explored in terms of the semiotics involved and the myth creation role of legitimation in order to explain the significance of the regulatory process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • regulations
  • stakeholders
  • privatization
  • utilities
  • United Kingdom
  • pricing


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