Difference Between Rules and Policies

Rules vs Policies

For smooth and effective operations in any organization, rules and policies hold great significance. While policies are broad guidelines that reflect the aims and objectives of the organization, rules are meant more for day to day operations to proceed smoothly without any glitches. There are many similarities between these two concepts arising mainly due to overlapping of the same end purpose, there are glaring differences that will be talked about in this article to remove any doubts from the minds of the readers.

Policies of an organization, company, individual, or even a government are meant to guide behavior and activities in a particular direction to help achieve goals and aims. Policies are usually made by top management and provide a broad framework within which an organization and the workforce perform all activities. You must have heard the term foreign policy too often in newspapers. It defines the broad framework that provides guidelines for a country to have relations with other governments and countries. Governments come and go but this basic foreign policy more or less remains the same and there is no drastic change introduced by an incoming government. Policies help the management to take decisions accordingly to keep the organization on the path chosen by the founders of the company.

Let us take the example of a school. Every school has a set of policies pertaining to education, admission, and conducting classes. These are broad guidelines that become a distinctive feature of the school and set it apart from other schools. It is on the basis of these policies that rules are made that are to be followed by teachers, staff, and students of the school in day to day situations. Whereas policies answer the questions what and why, rules are designed to provide answers to how, when and where.

Policies are considered as statement of intent and reflect on the aims and objectives of any organization while rules are meant to guide the behavior and attitude of the employees to help them behave according to situations arising in day to day operations. For example, if employees are asked not to smoke in the premises of a factory or keep their mobiles switched off during a meeting, these are considered rules so that there is no commotion during work and everything goes off in a smooth manner. Traffic lights at any intersection are rules to be obeyed by commuters and vehicles to allow smooth operation of traffic.

Rules vs Policies

• Policies are the aims and objectives of an organization that provide a framework for the management to take decisions accordingly.

• Rules basically get derived from these policies but are dependent upon situation and often get changed.

• Rules are there to allow smooth functioning in day to day operations.