The key difference between guidelines and rules is that guidelines are recommendations that guide for best practices and behaviors, whereas rules are lawful and permanent guidelines that one must follow according to organizational or institutional policies.
Both guidelines and rules provide instructions for a particular behavior or on performing a task. Although both guidelines and rules shape the behaviors of the individuals, there are slight differences between guidelines and rules.
What are Guidelines?
We can define guidelines as information that suggests how something should be done. Guidelines provide an outline for behavior but do not give an exact idea about the expected behavior. They are used by both private and government organizations and institutions to shape the behavior of employees. It provides guidance for employees to perform a task. However, they are not legal requirements.
Guidelines are not mandatory, and if the employees do not follow guidelines, they are not punished. Guidelines are not formal, and they have the freedom to either follow them or not. Nevertheless, guidelines help to outline the best practices and behaviors. For example, there are guidelines related to the use of different appliances in companies. These guidelines are provided so that employees are able to perform the tasks or works effectively. Although guidelines are not necessary to follow, they are an important part of the field of business.
What are Rules?
Rules can be defined as the prescribed guide for action. Rules are important because they help to guide the actions for an expected result. At the same time, rules provide a sense of consistency in actions and behaviors. Rules can be adapted in countries, companies, organizations, and educational institutions. The rules used in different organizations can be different from one another. Similarly, rules are used to guide and monitor the behavior of the members of society.
Rules are formal and legal. Members of the society or members of particular bodies (for example, educational institutions, courts of law, etc.) have the responsibility to obey and follow the rules. When the rules are adapted in a particular body, its members receive an opportunity to shape the behaviors according to the expected standard. Breaking rules will lead to punishments and confinements.
What is the Difference Between Guidelines and Rules?
The key difference between guidelines and rules is that rules are legal and formal while rules are not. An individual can follow guidelines if he or she wants to. He or she also has the freedom to not follow. However, rules should be followed by all the members of the particular body. Breaking and not following rules can result in punishments, but there are no punishments for not following guidelines.
Moreover, the adaption of guidelines cannot be made compulsory, whereas the following of rules can be made compulsory. Both guidelines and rules help to keep the people safe. However, although a company or an organization can function without guidelines, a country, society, company, or organization cannot function without rules.
Below is a summary of the difference between guidelines and rules in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Guidelines vs Rules
Guidelines are recommendations that guide for best practices and behaviors, whereas rules are lawful and permanent guidelines that one must follow according to organizational or institutional policies. The key difference between the guidelines and the rules is that guidelines are not formal, whereas rules are formal.