Industry self-regulation is the process whereby members of an industry, trade or sector of the economy monitor their own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity or governmental regulator monitor and enforce those standards. Self-regulation may ease compliance and ownership of standards, but it can also give rise to conflicts of interest. If any organization, such as a corporation or government bureaucracy, is asked to eliminate unethical behavior within their own group, it may be in their interest in the short run to eliminate the appearance of unethical behavior, rather than the behavior itself, by keeping any ethical breaches hidden, instead of exposing and correcting them. An exception occurs when the ethical breach is already known by the public. In that case, it could be in the group's interest to end the ethical problem to which the public has knowledge, but keep remaining breaches hidden. Another exception would occur in industry sectors with varied membership, such as international brands together with small and medium size companies where the brand owners would have an interest to protect the joint sector reputation by issuing together self-regulation so as to avoid smaller companies with less resources causing damage out of ignorance. Similarly, the reliability of a professional group such as lawyers and journalists could make ethical rules work satisfactorily as a self-regulation if they were a pre-condition for adherence of new members.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2015)