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Difference between Guideline and Policy

Difference between Guideline and Policy

There is a big difference between a guideline and a policy. A guideline is a recommendation, whereas a policy is mandatory. A good example of this is the dress code. A dress code might be a guideline, but not following it would be considered breaking policy. Another example might be parking in the employee lot. Parking in the employee lot would be required by policy, but not wearing a shirt would only be considered bad etiquette. Hopefully, this article will help clear up any confusion there may be between these two terms.

What is Guideline?

A guideline is a set of principles, criteria, or goals that can be used to direct or assist decision-making. The term is often used in the context of corporate governance, where companies may have a board of directors that provides guidance on strategy and operations. The guideline can also refer to technical specifications, such as those for computer software or engineering. In some cases, a guideline may be mandatory, such as rules for safety in the workplace. The guideline can also be voluntary, such as scientific recommendations for healthy eating. Ultimately, a guideline is any type of information that can be used to make decisions more effectively.

What is Policy?

A policy is a course of action or guidelines that are adopted by an organization, business, individual, etc. to reach specific goals. Policymaking can be considered the art and science of decision-making. It involves setting goals, determining the course of action or policies needed to achieve those goals, and then implementation and evaluation. Policymaking is a complex process that requires knowledge of the area being addressed, an understanding of the factors that influence decisions, and good judgment. In order to be effective, policies must be clear and concise, and they must be consistently followed. When done correctly, policymaking can help to improve the efficiency of an organization and achieve desired outcomes.

Difference between Guideline and Policy

Guideline and policy are two words that are often used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between the two. A guideline is a set of principles or recommendations that can be used to guide decision-making. In contrast, a policy is a formal statement that outlines a course of action or principle. Put simply, guidelines provide suggestions, while policies dictate rules. This distinction is important to keep in mind when developing organizational procedures. Guidelines can be followed flexibly, while policies must be followed strictly. As a result, policies are typically more rigid and inflexible than guidelines. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider the needs of the organization and the level of flexibility that is required.


The distinction between a guideline and policy is an important one to understand. A guideline provides advice or recommends a certain course of action, while a policy establishes rules that must be followed. When creating your own guidelines or policies, it’s important to make sure they are clear and easy to understand.

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