Protocol vs Procedure
Protocol is a word that is mostly heard in relation with diplomacy and bureaucracy. It is similar in meaning to policy and procedures that are put in place to avoid chaos or any diplomatic blunder that may be a cause of embarrassment to a government. However, it is not just foreign office or ministry that needs protocols in place but also many other institutions and even corporations to make sure there is no untoward event or situation in times when senior management is not at duty. Despite similarities, there are difference between protocol and procedure that will be highlighted in this article.
Talking of differences, every department in an organization has policies or procedures in place that are more or less generalized descriptions of how to go about performing a task. A protocol is a rung above, a step by step descriptive guideline to achieve completion of a task. So the major difference between a protocol and a policy is one of sanctity or intensity. Whereas protocols are to be followed in letter and spirit in all circumstances, procedures, though to be observed, can be altered or modified to suit requirements.
Another difference lies in the fact that policies and procedures are like laws that can be modified to suit present circumstances, whereas protocols are deemed to be the most effective way of doing a particular task. Procedure may not be the best or the most effective way of doing a task, but it is adopted as a way of doing things at a particular institute or hospital because if suits the requirements.