Difference Wiki

Objective vs. Policies: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 12, 2024
Objectives are specific goals aimed to be achieved, while policies are guidelines or rules set to achieve these goals.

Key Differences

Objectives are clearly defined targets set by an individual or organization. Policies, on the other hand, are the principles and guidelines formulated to reach these objectives. While objectives are end goals, policies provide the roadmap to achieve them.
Objectives are typically specific, measurable, and time-bound. Policies, in contrast, are broader in scope, providing a framework within which decisions are made to achieve these objectives. Objectives define 'what' needs to be achieved, while policies define 'how' to achieve it.
Objectives are often set as part of strategic planning, outlining desired outcomes. Policies are developed to guide actions and decisions that contribute to reaching these objectives. Objectives provide direction, while policies provide the structure for this direction.
Objectives are quantifiable and are often used to evaluate performance. Policies, however, are more qualitative, offering guidance and standards to ensure objectives are met in an appropriate manner. Objectives are about achieving targets, whereas policies are about ensuring consistency and compliance.
Objectives are the goals or targets aimed to be accomplished, whereas policies are the rules or guidelines that direct the actions taken to achieve these objectives. Objectives provide a focus for effort, while policies ensure this effort is aligned with organizational values and regulations.

Comparison Chart


A specific goal or target to be achieved.
A set of guidelines or rules to achieve goals.


Narrow and focused.
Broad and encompassing.


Quantitative or qualitative goal.
Principles or standards for decision-making.


Provides direction and purpose.
Provides structure and framework.

Change Frequency

May change with project or strategy.
Usually more stable, change less frequently.


Achieved through specific actions.
Implemented through adherence and enforcement.

Objective and Policies Definitions


Something that one's efforts are intended to accomplish.
Her objective was to finish the marathon, regardless of the time.


An insurance contract.
She reviewed her health insurance policy to understand the coverage details.


A goal intended to be attained.
The company's objective is to increase sales by 20% this year.


A course or principle of action adopted by a government, party, business, or individual.
The company's policy on vacation days is very flexible.


Uninfluenced by personal feelings or opinions.
Journalists should remain objective when reporting news.


A written statement of an organization's official stance on an issue.
Their environmental policy commits to sustainable practices.


Of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition.
The objective reality is often different from personal perceptions.


A deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.
The school's policy on bullying is strictly enforced.


External to the mind, actual.
Scientists strive to study objective evidence in their research.


A plan or course of action intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters.
The government's economic policy aims to reduce inflation.


Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real
Objective reality.


A plan or course of action, as of a government, political party, or business, intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters
American foreign policy.
The company's personnel policy.


Based on observable phenomena; empirical
Objective facts.


A course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous
Honesty is the best policy.


Prudence, shrewdness, or sagacity in practical matters
It is never good policy to speak rashly.


A written contract or certificate of insurance.


A numbers game.


Plural of policy


How are objectives used in business?

Objectives in business provide clear targets for teams and measure success.

Can objectives change over time?

Yes, objectives can evolve as circumstances and strategies change.

How do objectives influence decision-making?

Objectives guide decision-making by providing a clear direction to aim for.

What is an objective?

An objective is a specific goal set to be achieved.

How are policies enforced?

Policies are enforced through management oversight and disciplinary measures.

Do policies apply to all members of an organization?

Yes, policies typically apply to all members to ensure uniformity.

How often should objectives be reviewed?

Objectives should be reviewed regularly to ensure relevance and feasibility.

Are objectives always quantifiable?

While often quantifiable, objectives can also be qualitative, like improving brand perception.

Can policies be flexible?

Some policies are flexible, while others, like safety policies, are strict.

Can a policy become an objective?

Rarely; policies are usually means to achieve objectives, not ends themselves.

Can an individual have personal objectives and policies?

Yes, individuals can set personal objectives and policies for self-discipline and goal achievement.

Are policies always written documents?

While often documented, some policies may be communicated verbally in smaller organizations.

What are policies?

Policies are guidelines or rules set by an organization to achieve objectives.

Are objectives more important than policies?

Objectives and policies are equally important but serve different purposes.

Who sets objectives in an organization?

Objectives are typically set by upper management or leadership teams.

How specific should an objective be?

Objectives should be as specific as possible to provide clear direction.

Why are policies important in a workplace?

Policies ensure consistency and fairness in decision-making and actions.

How do objectives relate to strategies?

Objectives are specific goals, while strategies are plans to achieve these goals.

Who is responsible for creating policies?

Policies are usually developed by senior management, often with legal consultation.

What happens if policies contradict objectives?

Contradictions between policies and objectives need resolving for effective functioning.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons