This article examines commercial norms of behaviour in two contexts: those business norms which are self-imposed by commercial parties in the context of successful long-term business relationships, and which were identified by Professor Stewart Macaulay and Beale and Dugdale in their empirical studies of the 1960s and 1970s, and the various doctrinal norms by which the law now imposes and reinforces standards of good behaviour in general commercial dealings. Although underpinned by diametrically opposed rationales (self interest and profit-maximisation in the former case, regulation of market abuse and promotion of market integrity in the latter), the standards of behaviour set by relational business norms and legal doctrine reveal strikingly similar strands. Indeed the thesis of the article is that doctrinal law has moved closer to the behavioural norms of the commercial and 'relational' world. In particular there is evident in both contexts, a strong emphasis on concepts of fairness, honesty, common decency and giving effect to the commercial realities of the situation.
Australian Business Law Review,
Vol. 30, no. 5 (Oct 2002), pp. 369-394