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policy or prinicple

I am often asked the question, “What is the difference between “policy” and “principle?”

First, let’s look at the word “principle.”  When we say,”There is a principle,” we are saying, “There is a basic truth that guides belief or behavior.”  We all believe in gravity.  If I drop my pen a hundred times, it will go down a hundred times.  Why?  There is a principle we call gravity that controls what the pen does. Other principles control health, learning, relationships, and basically all aspects of life.

“Policy” on the other hand is like a “principle,” but it is not a basic truth.  It is a rule that is proposed and enacted by an organization, a government, a family, or even an individual. It is a rule that a group agrees will control their behavior.  A company may have policies that control the hiring and maintaining of workers, or how customer complaints are handled.  A government has policies on how taxes are collected. A university has policies on what students can do and what they cannot do.

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