A Risk Sciences International glossary definition (Last modifed: December 15, 2023)

policy level

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In both governmental and corporate settings, the term “policy” serves as a guiding principle or set of rules designed to influence decisions and actions. However, the scope, objectives, and mechanisms of implementation differ in each context.

In the governmental sense, a policy is typically a course of action or a set of principles adopted by a government to achieve specific social, economic, or political outcomes. These policies often have wider societal implications and may include initiatives such as healthcare reform, education policies, or environmental regulations. Governmental policies are usually developed through a democratic process, involving multiple stakeholders, such as legislators, policy analysts, and the general public. They are often codified into laws and regulations, with compliance being mandatory and enforceable through legal means.

In a corporate context, a policy serves as an internal guideline or rule within an organization. These can range from human resource policies regarding employee conduct to operational policies on how a particular process should be executed. Corporate policies are typically not subject to public vote but are devised by those in managerial or executive positions. They serve the objective of streamlining organizational behavior in alignment with the company’s goals, mission, or legal obligations. Non-compliance usually results in internal repercussions, such as disciplinary action, rather than legal penalties.

To summarize, while both governmental and corporate policies serve as frameworks for decision-making and behavior, they differ in scope, objectives, development process, and mechanisms for enforcement. Governmental policies tend to be broader, socially-oriented, and legally binding, whereas corporate policies are more specific, goal-oriented, and enforceable through internal mechanisms.

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