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Dr Paul Sanderson

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Business and Law
Distance learning
Areas of Expertise:
Organisational Behaviour , Regulation, regulatory data, compliance
Research Supervision:

Dr Paul Sanderson is an expert in regulation and compliance, with a focus on UK regulatory agencies and corporate governance.

[email protected]


Prior to his PhD from the University of Cambridge, Dr Sanderson worked in the arts and in business.

He has led and/or taught on numerous social science degree courses but his current focus is on supervising PhD and Professional Doctorate students in the Faculty of Business and Law.

As an active lead researcher for the past 18 years, he has won 16 social science research calls with a total value of more than £2.25million on topics such as the implications for outcomes of switching venues for medical disciplinary hearings and the use of 'comply-or-explain' principles in corporate governance.

His research has been for and funded primarily by UK government and associated agencies including the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Professional Standards Authority, the Social Mobility Commission, the Tenant Services Authority and the General Medical Council.

Recent publications have addressed aspects of the UK corporate governance code principle of comply-or-explain, the behavioural impacts on medical negligence adjudicators of switching from public to private disciplinary hearings and factors inhibiting inter-regulator data-sharing.

Dr Sanderson is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

Research interests

  • Regulation
  • Corporate governance
  • Regulatory decision-making
  • Disposition to comply
  • Discretionary compliance models (e.g. comply-or-explain)

Areas of research supervision

Primary focus: regulation and governance. Current and past topics include:

  • Identification of behavioural correlates of non-compliance by businesses with product safety regulations.
  • The extent to which a focus on accountability promotes regulatory compliance within financial services companies.
  • The absorptive capacity for new knowledge of a mental health provider.
  • The perceptions and motivations of teachers towards school leadership
  • A strategic framework for integrated commissioning in health and social care services
  • Impact of the use of soft power by leaders in the public sector
  • Leaders’ perceptions of the impact of digital technologies in the UK higher education sector.
  • Impact of soft power on the growth of tourism in the UAE
  • Creating psychological safety in higher education: the role of leadership
  • Creating successful communities


Doctoral level supervision


  • PhD (Regulation Management), Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
  • BA (Hons) Politics with Economics, ARU
  • LRAM Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, London

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Founding member, Research Committee of the International Network for the Delivery of Regulation
  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2019 The Psychology of decision-making in public and private. Professional Standards Authority: £12,495
  • 2016 Pay to Stay: Household income distribution estimates. National Housing Federation: £20,000
  • 2016 The impact of family support on access to homeownership for young people. Social Mobility Commission: £12,970
  • 2016 Developing data to Improve decisions on social housing rent levels. ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: £18,436
  • 2015 Refining ONS ‘Travel to Work Areas’ for social housing planning. ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: £1,924
  • 2015 Designing compliance into regulatory codes. BIS/BRDO/ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: £15,000
  • 2015 Estimated net income distribution of working households. Riverside Group: £8,000
  • 2014 Potential solutions for business data sharing between regulators. Department of Business, Innovation & Skills: £61, 745
  • 2011 The citizen in regulation. Local Better Regulation Office: £19,692
  • 2009 Analysis and advice in respect of regulatory data. Tenant Services Authority: £299,605
  • 2008 Comparative analysis of medical regulatory models in EU & worldwide (with RAND Europe, H de Vries). General Medical Council: £38,454
  • 2006 Statistical analysis and advice service in respect of regulatory data. Housing Corporation: £939,235
  • 2006 Soft Regulation? Conforming with the principle of ‘Comply or Explain’. Economic and Social Research Council: £177,826
  • 2006 Fitness of purpose and usage of Housing Corporation regulatory data (with C Whitehead). Housing Corporation: £191,370
  • 2005 Dataspring research programme (with C Whitehead). Housing Corporation: £409,675

Selected recent publications

Efstathopoulou, L., Sanderson, P. and Bungay, H. 2023. 'Exploring the ability of child and adolescent mental health services .CAMHS. to respond to new valuable knowledge: the influence of professionals and internal organisational processes', Mental Health Review Journal, 28.1., pp. 19-32.

Roberts, J., Sanderson, P., Seidl, D. and Krivokapic, A. 2020. 'The UK Corporate Governance Code Principle of ‘Comply or Explain’: Understanding Code Compliance as ‘Subjection’, Abacus, 56.4., pp. 602-626.

Sanderson, P. 2019. 'From public hearings to consensual disposal: Insights from the decision-making literature', Professional Standards Authority, London.

Kirkman, H. and Sanderson, P. 2019. 'A code-based approach to changing regulator behaviour'. In: Russell, G. and Hodges, C. .Eds.. 2019. Regulation Delivery, London: Bloomsbury.

Sanderson, P. 2017. ‘What Britain needs is a bank of mum and dad for all’, The Guardian, 1 June.

Udagawa, C. and Sanderson, P. 2017. 'The impact of family support on access to homeownership for young people in the UK', London: Social Mobility Commission.

Udagawa, C. and Sanderson, P. 2016. 'Household income distribution estimates: The example of Pay to Stay impacts in Local Authority areas in two English regions', Cambridge: Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.

Udagawa, C. and Sanderson, P. 2016. 'Experimental review of the Cambridge Travel to Work Area as a tool for informing housing policy', Cambridge: Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.

Sanderson, P., Banks, D., Deakin, S. and Udagawa, C. 2015. 'Encouraging inter-regulator data sharing: the perceptions of regulators', London: Department of Business, Innovation & Skills.

Seidl, D., Sanderson, P. and Roberts, J. 2013. 'Applying the ‘comply-or-explain’ principle: discursive legitimacy tactics with regard to codes of corporate governance', Journal of Management & Governance, 17.3.. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10997-011-9209-y

Sanderson, P., Seidl, D. and Roberts, J. 2013. 'The Limits of Flexible Regulation: Managers’ perceptions of corporate governance codes and ‘comply-or-explain', University of Cambridge CBR WP No. 439.

Barker, R., Hendry, J., Roberts, J., and Sanderson, P. 2012. 'Can company-fund manager meetings convey informational benefits? Exploring the rationalisation of equity investment decision making by UK fund managers', Accounting, Organizations and Society, 37.4., pp. 207-222.

Sanderson, P. 2011. 'The Citizen in Regulation', Birmingham: Local Better Regulation Office.

Recent presentations and conferences

Sanderson, P. 2019. From public hearings to consensual disposal: Insights from the decision-making literature. Presentation to Professional Standards Authority, London. https://tinyurl.com/yyjl3f3r

Sanderson, P. 2017. ‘Raising the quality of wards, clinics and care homes: The potential for mobile apps such as ‘Perfect Ward’ to promote agile compliance in the regulatory state.’ Professional Standards Authority: Building trust in people and places. Windsor. 9-10 March.

Sanderson, P. 2015. ‘From flexible regulation to agile compliance.’ BNP.Paribas, Paris

Sanderson, P., Banks, D., Deakin, S. and Udagawa, C. 2015. ‘Encouraging inter-regulator data sharing: the perceptions of regulators,’ London: Presentation to Department of Business, Innovation & Skills.

Sanderson, P. 2015. ‘Regulatory impact and disposition to comply: Regulatees’ perceptions of the legitimacy of flexible regulatory codes’ Assessing the impact of regulation. Conference presentation to Professional Standards Authority, Windsor.

Sanderson, P. 2014. ‘Optimising regulatees’ disposition to comply: Observations from research on regulatees’ attitudes to code compliance. Conference presentation to ‘Improving professional regulation in health and social care: interdisciplinary insights. Professional Standards Authority, Windsor

Sanderson, P. 2013. Lessons for European Financial Markets Regulation from Complying with flexible regulation: Managers’ perceptions of corporate governance codes and ’comply-or-explain?’ Presentation to Workshop: Re-thinking the Foundations of European Market Regulation and Enforcement,' University of Utrecht.

de Vries, H., Sanderson, P., Janta, B., Rabinovich, L., Archontakis, F., Ismail, S., Klautzer, L., Marjanovic, S., Patruni, B., Puri, S., Tiessen, J. 2009. International Comparison of Ten Medical Regulatory Systems: Presentation of A Technical Report for the General Medical Council. London.

Media experience

Sanderson, P. 2017. ‘What Britain needs is a bank of mum and dad for all.’ The Guardian, article published 01 June plus, previously, local TV and radio interviews on research findings, e.g., aspects of housing mobility and local impact of general election results.