Definition of Policy

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A policy1The etymology of policy is intimately associated with an archaic meaning of the term police as a set of rules for the preservation of order and enforcement of law (ultimately from the Greek polis, a city), leading to the (obsolete) use of policy as a (political) constitution; hence policy as guidance on what constitutes good conduct in an organisation. establishes the limits of acceptable organisational behaviour; it is kind of specification for the quality assurance of behaviour, a set of prescriptive2Permissive or proscriptive. rules that apply to an organisation, or to members3Where the members may be people or other organisations. of an organisation4Of any scale, from one person with specific accoutrements for a recognised purpose, e.g. a self-employed plumber as a “one person plumbing organisation”, through clubs, associations, committees, businesses, councils, assemblies, parliaments, congresses, states etc. to supra-national entities such as the United Nations. by virtue of their membership.

Not all rules necessarily apply to everyone all the time; the applicability of individual rules is determined by the criteria they embody.

Examples

A sexual non-discrimination policy may state as a primary obligation on all members of an organisation that they are not to prefer or disadvantage another by virtue of the other’s biological, perceived or self-perceived sexual identity – together with secondary obligations to investigate fairly allegations of discrimination in violation of the policy and take appropriate corrective or mitigating actions including discipline, education, provision of support, etc. as appropriate.

A law is a policy of a state or supra-national body.

Scope

Policy is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Policy is a defined term of Business Analysis. Policy is a defined term of Management.

Notes   [ + ]

1.The etymology of policy is intimately associated with an archaic meaning of the term police as a set of rules for the preservation of order and enforcement of law (ultimately from the Greek polis, a city), leading to the (obsolete) use of policy as a (political) constitution; hence policy as guidance on what constitutes good conduct in an organisation.
2.Permissive or proscriptive.
3.Where the members may be people or other organisations.
4.Of any scale, from one person with specific accoutrements for a recognised purpose, e.g. a self-employed plumber as a “one person plumbing organisation”, through clubs, associations, committees, businesses, councils, assemblies, parliaments, congresses, states etc. to supra-national entities such as the United Nations.

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