Scheme vs. Policy: What's the Difference?
A scheme is a systematic plan or arrangement for a particular purpose, while a policy is a set of guidelines or rules that guide decisions or actions in specific situations.
A scheme and a policy, while sometimes utilized in overlapping contexts, are inherently different in their purposes and applications. A scheme essentially refers to a structured plan or arrangement designed to achieve a specific goal or outcome. For instance, a city might have a transportation scheme to streamline its public transport routes. Conversely, a policy denotes a formulated principle or guideline, which helps in decision-making or ensures consistent actions in given scenarios. An example would be a company's refund policy, which clarifies the circumstances under which refunds are permissible.
Looking into governmental contexts, when a government introduces a new scheme, it might be presenting a program or project that serves a particular section of the population, such as a housing scheme for low-income families. On the other hand, when the same government announces a policy, it's laying down a foundational approach or guideline, like a foreign policy determining international interactions.
In business, while schemes often refer to structured plans such as incentive schemes to motivate employees, policies stand as official documents that elucidate the company's stance on various matters, like an HR policy. It's noteworthy that while a scheme generally has a more concrete and tangible blueprint with specific steps and actions, a policy tends to be more abstract, providing an overarching guideline.
While both schemes and policies are aimed at facilitating better organization and clarity, their primary divergence lies in their nature and functionality. Schemes provide a roadmap or a structured pathway, detailing steps or methods to realize a goal. Policies, meanwhile, offer a framework within which decisions are made, ensuring uniformity and coherence in choices and actions.
A systematic plan or arrangement
A set of guidelines or rules
To achieve a specific goal or outcome
To guide decisions and ensure consistency
Often has a concrete blueprint or steps
More abstract and overarching
Programs, projects, plans
Guidelines, principles, foundational approaches
Incentive schemes, transportation plans
HR policies, foreign policies
Scheme and Policy Definitions
A systematic plan or arrangement.
The new traffic scheme improved downtown congestion.
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.
A secretive or devious plan.
She suspected him of some scheme to deceive her.
A course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous
Honesty is the best policy.
A systematic plan of action
"Did you ever carry out your scheme of writing a series of sonnets embodying all the great epochs of art?" (Edith Wharton).
Prudence, shrewdness, or sagacity in practical matters
It is never good policy to speak rashly.
A secret or devious plan; a plot
A scheme to defraud investors.
A written contract or certificate of insurance.
An orderly plan or arrangement of related parts
An irrigation scheme with dams, reservoirs, and channels.
A numbers game.
A chart, diagram, or outline of a system or object.
A principle of behaviour, conduct etc. thought to be desirable or necessary, especially as formally expressed by a government or other authoritative body.
The Communist Party has a policy of returning power to the workers.
It's company policy that all mobile phones are forbidden in meetings.
To contrive a plan or scheme for; plot
Scheming their revenge.
Wise or advantageous conduct; prudence, formerly also with connotations of craftiness.
To make plans, especially secret or devious ones.
Specifically, political shrewdness or (formerly) cunning; statecraft.
An artful deviation from the ordinary arrangement of words.
The grounds of a large country house.
(astrology) A representation of the aspects of the celestial bodies for any moment or at a given event.
(obsolete) The art of governance; political science.
A systematic plan of future action.
(obsolete) A state; a polity.
A plot or secret, devious plan.
(obsolete) A set political system; civil administration.
An orderly combination of related parts.
(obsolete) A trick; a stratagem.
A chart or diagram of a system or object.
(obsolete) Motive; object; inducement.
(mathematics) A mathematical structure that enlarges the notion of algebraic variety in several ways, such as taking account of multiplicities and allowing "varieties" defined over any commutative ring (e.g. Fermat curves over the integers).
A council housing estate.
A contract of insurance.
(internet) Part of a uniform resource identifier indicating the protocol or other purpose, such as
A document containing or certifying this contract.
Your insurance policy covers fire and theft only.
A portfolio of pension plans with related benefits comprising multiple independent members.
(obsolete) An illegal daily lottery in late nineteenth and early twentieth century USA on numbers drawn from a lottery wheel (no plural)
(intransitive) To plot, or contrive a plan.
A number pool lottery
(transitive) To plan; to contrive.
(transitive) To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.
A combination of things connected and adjusted by design; a system.
The appearance and outward scheme of things.
Such a scheme of things as shall at once take in time and eternity.
Arguments . . . sufficient to support and demonstrate a whole scheme of moral philosophy.
The Revolution came and changed his whole scheme of life.
A plan or theory something to be done; a design; a project; as, to form a scheme.
The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
The settled method by which the government and affairs of a nation are, or may be, administered; a system of public or official administration, as designed to promote the external or internal prosperity of a state.
Any lineal or mathematical diagram; an outline.
To draw an exact scheme of Constantinople, or a map of France.
The method by which any institution is administered; system of management; course.
A representation of the aspects of the celestial bodies for any moment or at a given event.
A blue silk case, from which was drawn a scheme of nativity.
He forms the well-concerted scheme of mischief;'T is fixed, 't is done, and both are doomed to death.
Artists and plans relieved my solemn hours;I founded palaces, and planted bowers.
Management or administration based on temporal or material interest, rather than on principles of equity or honor; hence, worldly wisdom; dexterity of management; cunning; stratagem.
To make a scheme of; to plan; to design; to project; to plot.
That wickedness which schemed, and executed, his destruction.
Prudence or wisdom in the management of public and private affairs; wisdom; sagacity; wit.
The very policy of a hostess, finding his purse so far above his clothes, did detect him.
To form a scheme or schemes.
Motive; object; inducement.
What policy have you to bestow a benefit where it is counted an injury?
An elaborate and systematic plan of action
A ticket or warrant for money in the public funds.
A statement that evades the question by cleverness or trickery
The writing or instrument in which a contract of insurance is embodied; an instrument in writing containing the terms and conditions on which one party engages to indemnify another against loss arising from certain hazards, perils, or risks to which his person or property may be exposed. See Insurance.
A group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole;
A vast system of production and distribution and consumption keep the country going
A method of gambling by betting as to what numbers will be drawn in a lottery; as, to play policy.
An internal representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world
To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.
A schematic or preliminary plan
A line of argument rationalizing the course of action of a government;
They debated the policy or impolicy of the proposed legislation
Form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
A plan of action adopted by an individual or social group;
It was a policy of retribution
A politician keeps changing his policies
Devise a system or form a scheme for
Written contract or certificate of insurance;
You should have read the small print on your policy
An official program or project.
The government introduced a healthcare scheme for seniors.
A set of guidelines or rules.
A design or pattern.
The color scheme of the room was calming.
A course of action adopted by an organization.
The new environmental policy garnered public support.
A method of achieving an aim.
His workout scheme led to rapid improvements.
An insurance contract.
She took out a life insurance policy.
A principle of action.
His policy is always to tell the truth.
A standpoint on a particular issue.
The president's foreign policy was under scrutiny.
What's the role of policy in governance?
In governance, a policy sets out a foundational approach or stance on various issues.
How does a policy function in an organization?
A policy provides guidelines or rules to guide decisions and ensure consistency.
Can a scheme be secretive?
Yes, the term scheme can also denote a secretive or devious plan.
Which term has a more tangible blueprint?
A scheme often presents a more concrete blueprint or steps.
Is a policy always official?
While policies often have official standing, they can also be informal guidelines.
What might a government housing initiative be called?
A government housing initiative might be termed a housing scheme.
What is the primary meaning of scheme?
A scheme primarily refers to a systematic plan or arrangement.
Why are policies essential in companies?
Policies ensure uniformity, clarity, and consistent decision-making in companies.
What's the objective behind most schemes?
Most schemes aim to achieve a specific goal or outcome.
Do all schemes have positive connotations?
No, sometimes "scheme" can imply a questionable or dubious plan.
Is a policy generally broad or specific?
Policies can be broad, offering overarching guidelines, but can also be specific in detailing rules.
How does a policy differ in the insurance context?
In insurance, a policy is a contract specifying coverage and terms.
Can a scheme refer to design elements?
Yes, in design, a scheme can refer to patterns or arrangements, like color schemes.
Which word can sometimes imply artistry or design?
"Scheme" can imply artistry, as in design patterns or arrangements.
Which is more likely to be found in a company's handbook?
A policy, outlining guidelines or rules, is more likely to be in a company's handbook.
How do policies assist in decision-making?
Policies provide a framework, ensuring decisions align with established guidelines.
In what context is a policy often scrutinized?
In political or governance contexts, policies (like foreign policies) are often scrutinized.
Which term, when used, indicates a roadmap or pathway?
The term "scheme" indicates a roadmap or structured pathway.
Can a scheme be official?
Yes, schemes can be official programs or projects introduced by entities.
How does a policy provide clarity?
A policy outlines rules or principles, clarifying standpoints or actions to be taken.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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