Featured Glossary TermPolicy
Policies are formal statements of an organization's practices, procedures, or intentions. Policies guide managerial decision making and actions to ensure compliance with the mission and strategy. Policies are broad, precedent-setting decisions that guide or substitute for repetitive or time-sensitive managerial decision making. A policy establishes broad limits and provides direction, but it permits some initiative and discretion. Examples of common policy areas include: customer relationship policies, human resource policies, privacy policies, and security policies. In the public sector, a policy is a broad statement of administrative law and often the intent of political leaders.
Related terms include procedure, method and rule. These terms have different degrees of scope and impact. A procedure is a sequence of steps or operations describing how to carry out an activity. It is more specific than a policy and establishes a customary way of handling a recurring activity. Thus, less discretion is permissible in its application. An example of a procedure is the sequence of steps in the routing of parts. A method establishes the manner and sequence of accomplishing a recurring, individual task. Almost no discretion is allowed. An example of a method is the set of steps in cashing a check. A rule is an established guide for conduct. Rules include definite things to do and not to do. There are no exceptions to the rules. An example of a rule is "No Smoking" or "First come, first served".