Policy vs Procedure: Difference and Comparison

In business, law and order, and bureaucratic work, certain rules have to be followed while working in a particular environment.

Policies, rules, regulations, and procedures maintain the framework of operation in the particular bureaucratic setting, which has to be followed by every individual.

These may vary depending on the level of management, but the performance of the organization depends on these codes of conduct.

Key Takeaways

  1. A policy is a set of guidelines to achieve a specific goal, while a procedure is a series of steps to carry out a specific task.
  2. Policies are broader and applicable to a wider audience, while procedures are narrower in scope and applicable to a specific process.
  3. Policies are created by top-level management, while procedures are created by middle management or operational staff.

Policy vs Procedure

Policies are a set of statements and guidelines that govern the decision-making and behaviour of parties engaged in the policy. It acts as a framework for consistent decision-making and ensures an organization achieves common goals. Procedures are rigid steps taken to complete a specific task or achieve a particular outcome.

Policy vs Procedure

A policy is a precise statement that contains the principles, limits, and obligations that have to be observed and followed by the parties engaged in the policy.

These limits and principles apply to all the parties signed within the policy.

These guidelines are defined for achieving the goals of the organizations framing the policies, and hence, a lot of decision-making goes into making a policy.

Procedures are rigid rules that define the exact way in which a particular task has to be performed in a bureaucratic environment.

These are systematic sequences that have to be followed without exception. A certain logical path is followed while forming the procedures. Hence, the sequence of the procedure is very important.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPolicyProcedure
DefinitionPolicies are specific statements that contain the limits, principles, and obligations that have to be observed and followed by parties engaged in the policyProcedures are rigid rules that define the exact ways in which a particular task has to be performed.
NaturePolicies can offer a little leeway to the partiesProcedures are strict and rigid
Implemented forFor achieving the goals of the organization implementingTo lay down correct sequences to be followed within the organization
ReflectsThe strategies of the organizationThe programs implemented by the organization
Method of makingInvolves heavy decision making while framing the policiesA logical sequence is followed while framing the procedures

What is Policy?

Policies are exact specific statements that contain the principles, obligations, and limits that have to be followed by all the parties involved in the policy.

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These policies are crafted to achieve the goals of the organization making the policy. Hence, a lot of decision-making goes into making the policy.

The policies define the structure of the activities and clauses mentioned in the policies. Hence, the statements are concise and made exactly to the point.

Policies are an integral part of the organization as they lay down the framework for the various bureaucratic work performed by the parties involved in the policy.

Policies are made by business organizations, government, and other bureaucratic organizations.

Policies provide the parameters that have to be taken into consideration by the management as well as the third parties and common people involved in the policies for consistent functioning of the policy for a long period.

Some points have to be considered while crafting a policy. The policy has to be flexible, allowing leeway to the parties involved as exceptional cases are expected.

Along with this, the policy must be constructed in such a way that it influences participation from all the parties involved. A policy should be framed in such a way that it is beneficial to all the parties involved.

policy

What is Procedure?

A procedure is a set of rigid rules that define the exact way in which a particular task has to be performed.

It is a schedule of activities that follow a particular sequence, and they are made for the proper functioning of the organization.

Procedures are thus strict codes that have to be followed while performing a particular activity. The sequence of activities mentioned in the procedure is very important, as it follows the logic for completing the task.

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Procedures are made by companies and governments for implementing new programs or activities for the people involved with the company or government. These could be new policies or reformations in the existing programs. Thus, every policy, activity, or program has a defined set of procedures for the smooth functioning of the activity.

Some of the reasons why procedures are framed are to make a complicated process easy by dividing it into parts, to make the completion of an activity easy, and to increase the efficiency of the process.

Maintaining the sequence mentioned in the procedure is very important as the functioning of the organization or the company depends upon the procedure of performing activities.

Thus, the nature of the procedure is very rigid, and there is little to no leeway while following procedures.

procedure

Main Differences Between Policy and Procedure

  1. Policies are specific statements that contain the limits, principles and obligations that have to be followed by all the parties mentioned in the policy. Procedures outline the framework for doing a particular task correctly.
  2. Policies can offer a little leeway to the parties. The nature of procedures is rigid, and there is little to no leeway.
  3. Policies are implemented to achieve the goals of the organization. Procedures are implemented to lay down the correct sequence that has to be followed while performing a task.
  4. Policies reflect the strategies of the organization. Procedures reflect the correct sequence of operations.
  5. There is heavy decision-making involved while framing the policies. A logical sequence is followed while framing a procedure.
Difference Between Policy and Procedure
References
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=lPE5CgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=policy&ots=GsM-WYyoj4&sig=kdViRUPSsYOmsTIOdacBu7P7Kdg
  2. https://www.escardio.org/static-file/Escardio/Guidelines/Scientific-Statements/guidelines-policyconf-Haverkamp.pdf
  3. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/calr66&section=36
  4. https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2016/SB-10076230-0699.pdf

Last Updated : 03 September, 2023

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17 thoughts on “Policy vs Procedure: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article provides a detailed and comprehensive explanation of the important differences between policies and procedures. It’s a valuable resource for anyone working in a bureaucratic environment.

    Reply
    • I completely agree. The article offers a clear and concise comparison that’s essential for understanding the framework of bureaucratic work.

      Reply
    • The information provided is crucial for anyone looking to understand the workings of an organization and how policies and procedures contribute to its functioning.

      Reply
  2. The explanation of the decision-making involved in policy formulation and the rigidity of procedures is thought-provoking. It adds depth to the understanding of these concepts.

    Reply
    • The article’s exploration of the decision-making behind policies and the logical sequence in procedures enhances the reader’s grasp of these fundamental elements.

      Reply
    • Absolutely. The thought-provoking content of the article offers a deeper understanding of the intricate workings of policies and procedures.

      Reply
  3. The article’s comparison of policies and procedures provides a comprehensive overview of their distinct roles in organizational settings.

    Reply
  4. The article effectively highlights the nature and implementation of policies and procedures with clear examples. It’s an enlightening read.

    Reply
    • The detailed explanation of policy and procedure differences is beneficial for professionals working in various organizational settings.

      Reply
    • I agree. The examples provided make it easier to grasp the concepts, and the article is certainly enlightening for anyone interested in this topic.

      Reply
  5. I found the article to be overly detailed and somewhat dry. While informative, it could benefit from a more engaging presentation to capture the reader’s interest.

    Reply
    • I can see your point, but the depth of information presented in the article is necessary for professionals seeking a thorough understanding of the topic.

      Reply
  6. This article gives a comprehensive understanding of the strategies and operations reflected by policies and procedures. It’s a valuable piece of information.

    Reply
    • Agreed. The article provides a wealth of insight into how policies and procedures are designed to achieve organizational goals and maintain operational efficiency.

      Reply
  7. The comparison table provided is very useful in illustrating the differences between policies and procedures. It’s a well-structured and informative article.

    Reply
    • I found the comparison table to be incredibly helpful in clarifying the distinctions between policies and procedures. It’s a great addition to the article.

      Reply
  8. The in-depth analysis effectively highlights the key differences between policies and procedures, making it a valuable resource for those working in bureaucratic environments.

    Reply

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