Policy Management in Organizations
Policy is not an act of legislation but a strategic judgment, which guides the organization’s conduct. Policy is not a legal document but a set of rules and principles to guide conduct. A policy is usually an expression of intent and is formally implemented as a formal procedure or rule. Such policies are typically adopted by a governance body within an organisation. In organisations, policies are generally adopted to address specific situations, either for internal application or for external application. The scope of a policy may be broad or confined, depending on the sensitivity of the issue and the resources available.
Policy management in any organisation is an important process. It is not an easy task because human beings are rarely predictable. Even so, there are procedures that can be followed for better policy formulation. The development of a sound policy framework requires adequate inputs from all key stakeholders in an organization and a monitoring procedure to ensure consistent application of policies. Policy review and revision also form an essential part of this cycle of periodic review.
There are various types of policies that exist in organizations. Some of these are operational policies, training and development policies, quality policies, regulatory policies and other public policies. Organizational policies must cover all aspects of the day-to-day operations of an organization and must provide a good insight into the goals of the organisation, its structure, management philosophy and priorities, as well as its structure, functioning and relationships. They form the core principles, guiding all the other policies that are developed within the organisation. Policy formulation is an essential process that determines the implementation of policies and the manner of their maintenance.
A systematic approach is needed to evaluate and monitor the performance of the policies formulated. An effective decision-making process is the cornerstone of implementing decisions based on good understanding of the requirement and of the organizational environment. This requires taking into consideration the objectives of the public policy and the likely consequences of failing to meet them. Each policy must have a purpose and a monitoring mechanism, which will help in determining its effect on the overall performance of the organization. Policy-making needs to be a systematic process that involves formulation of a written statement of purpose, policy description, designing the policy, communicating it to the relevant stake holders, evaluating its effectiveness, revising it for specific purposes, testing its compliance with the requirements of the public policy, including ensuring compliance with the statutory obligations, and finally, communicating its details to the external community and other interested parties for understanding and further polishing the policy. It is further followed by the implementation and operation of the policies once implemented.
An organization may fall short of achieving its desired objectives due to several factors. However, if the polices are properly revised and implemented, with an effective monitoring mechanism in place, the likelihood of adverse public reaction to the policies can be minimized. Policy-making can be effectively done only by a government. In spite of this, an optimum policy cycle can be achieved through the elected representatives of the society. Public policies cannot achieve their main goals without the involvement and active support of the people at large.
Policy-making can be effectively done through policies that are developed by the boards of directors of an organization, which include all the key players in the organization. However, there are certain policies that cannot be developed by the governing bodies because they are not mandated by law or by the general provisions of principles of democracy. There are also certain procedures that are commonly used within organizations but can be modified based on the type of policies implemented.