1. Policy is a guide for thinking and action, whereas a procedure is a guide for action and performance to achieve the organization’s objectives, i.e., it shows the method of doing the task.
2. Policies are the basis on which procedures are built, but procedures are a reflection of policies, i.e., policies take the first place and procedures follow later on.
3. Policy-making is a superior order of activity in executive responsibility. Procedures are always subordinate to policy.
4. Officers formulating procedures must work within the framework established by the policy makers who are the high-level executives, whereas procedures are more rapid and permit less liberty in managerial decision-making.
5. A policy covers a broad area and is growth-oriented. It is a long-range thing or a basic issue, whereas a procedure normally deals with the way a policy is carried out. It is a narrow lane to operate.
6. A statement of procedure is more specific than a statement of policy as it enumerates the time-wise steps to be taken in sequence in order to achieve a stated objective.
7. Policies are directly related to goals, for goals determine policies and policies depend on goals. But procedures are indirectly connected with goals. They tell the way to do a task and thereby help the organization in reaching the goals.
8. A policy is concerned with estimating the availability of resources, their procurement, their augmentation and their efficient utilization. On the other hand, a procedure is concerned with the actual utilization of resources.
A procedure is a means of implementing a policy, which is done in sequential steps. A statement of procedure is more specific than a statement of policy as it enumerates the time bound steps to be taken in a sequence for achieving specified objectives. When a procedure for dealing with recurring problems becomes formalized, it is called a Standing Operating Procedure.
Policy vs Procedure – Differences
Differences between Policies and Procedures are presented in the following table.
1. Policy is a guide for thinking and action.
Procedures are guide for action. They show the method of doing a task.
2. Policies are basis for procedures.
Procedures follow the policies.
3. Policies are responsibilities of top management.
Procedures are responsibilities of middle level and lower level managers.
4. Policies are stable.
Procedures can be changes in the short-run.
5. Policies give emphasis on general approach.
Procedures give emphasis on stage-by-stage details.
6. Policies are broad and comprehensive.
Procedures are more rigid and allow no freedom.
7. Policies are applied in long-range planning.
Procedures are applied in short range planning.
8. Policies are directly related to goals.
Procedures are indirectly related to goals.
9. Policy does not provide any method of doing a work.