They place obligations (or prohibitions) on any business conduct, action, practice, or procedure. Behavioural rules guide the actions of people working within or interacting with an organization. Individuals have to perform or avoid doing some actions. These rules also prescribe the required conditions for something to be correctly done.

An organization enforces these rules as a matter of policy, to reduce risks, or enhance productivity.


A hard hat must be worn in a construction site. An individual must be over 18 to travel alone

In contrast to definitional rules, behavioural rules can be violated directly (it does not matter whether it is automatable or not).

Because of this, further analysis should be conducted to determine how strict the rule must be. This involves sanctions when violated as well as additional responses.

Such analysis often leads to additional rules. 

Various levels of enforcement may be specified for a behavioural rule. For example:

  • Allow no violations (strictly enforced).

  • Override by authorized actor.

  • Override with explanation.

  • No active enforcement : simply a guideline that suggests preferred or optimal business behaviour.

Example of violation

Selling alcohol to people under 16 is prohibited. People who are 16 or more can buy beer or cider. In swiss law, someone selling alcohol to a person under 16 puts this person’s health at risk. This is sanctioned by a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years.

Behavioural rules frequently make use of the information or knowledge produced by definitional rules. 

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