Difference Between Policy and Procedure (With Table)

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

Policy vs Procedure

The main difference between Policy and Procedure is that Policies are statements that define the framework for decision making. These consist of the limits and obligations that have to be considered while making effective decisions. Procedures on the other hand define the exact way in which a certain activity is to be performed.

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 of 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 Between Policy and Procedure

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. These policies are crafted for achieving 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 as well as other bureaucratic organizations. Policies provide the parameters which 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 is 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.

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.

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 completion of activity easy, 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.

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 for achieving the goals of the organization. Procedures are implemented to lay down 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 operation.
  5. There is heavy decision making involved while framing the policies. A logical sequence is followed while framing a procedure.

Conclusion

A correct code of conduct is very important while working in a bureaucratic organization. These include the rules and regulations for performing different kinds of operations, the policies implemented by the organization, and the correct procedure that has to be followed.

Policies are implemented by an organization when there is a goal that the organization wants to achieve. This goal could be related to the people the company or the organization works with.

Hence in such cases, it is important to see that the policies are beneficial to both the parties involved. Thus there is heavy decision-making while framing policies.

Procedures on the other hand are the correct sequence of operations that has to be followed while performing a task. Thus procedures are very rigid and there is little to no leeway while performing a particular procedure for completing a task.

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

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