Policies are carried out by means of more detailed guidelines called procedures. They indicate a standard way of performing a task. Procedures supply a more specific guide to action than policy does. They help to achieve a high degree of regularity by enumerating the chronological sequence of steps.


A procedure can be defined as a series of related tasks that make up the chronological sequence and the established way of performing the work to be accomplished.

– Terry and Franklin

Policies give rise to procedures. For eg., an organization may have a policy of promotion based on seniority. To implement this policy, procedures must be established to determine the seniority of the employees and promoting them to suitable promotion procedure, there can be procedures for different activities such as placing orders, selecting employees etc.

Manuals; it is a good practice to assemble all the directives concerning the administration and procedures in a manual which can be available for reference. These directives, in general, fall under three headings;

  • Administrative procedures issued by the administrative office and referring mainly to regulations. This is essential for the maintenance of discipline.

  • Unit procedures outlining the procedures to be used in a unit.

  • Procedure manuals Eg; nursing procedure manual, laboratory procedure manual.

Procedure manuals provide a basis for orientation and staff development and are a ready reference for all personnel. They standardize procedures and equipments and can provide a basis for evaluation. Good procedures can result in time and labor savings. Improvement in operating procedures increases productivity and reduces cost.

Characteristics of good procedure

  1. Based on facts; A procedure should be based on adequate facts of the particular situation and not on personal guesses or whims. Due consideration must be given to the objectives, the physical facilities, the personnel and the type of work. The procedure should be such that it should not hinder efficiency. The end results govern the steps taken and are a prime consideration. The steps should be complementary and lead cumulatively to the accomplishment of the desired goals. Each step should be justified, fulfill a definite need, and in proper relationship to the remaining steps of the procedure.

  2. Stability; A procedure should possess stability in that it provides a steadfastness of the established course, with changes made only when fundamental modifications in the factors affecting the operation of the procedure occur. Stable procedure provides continuity in the action and the people get well versed with the system this helps in efficient execution of actions.

  3. Flexibility; Flexibility of procedure is desirable in order to cope with a crisis in emergency, special demands or adjustment to a temporary condition. Balance between flexibility and stability should be maintained.

  4. Updated procedures; there should be continuous review of procedures so that their utility is ascertained. In many cases it happens that a new procedure is added without deleting or modifying the existing ones.

  1. Minimum procedures; Every procedure costs something to the organization interms of manager’s time, paper handling, delay and lack of responsiveness to change. More the number of procedures more are the cost on the part of the organization. Therefore, their number should be kept to the minimum possible; otherwise procedures become more important than results themselves.

  2. Procedures as a system; Procedures, to be more effective, must be recognized as a system of interrelated activities of a network. The designing of the procedure should be linked with the organizational relationship and all factors should be taken into account, which affect these relationships. This is possible only when a comprehensive view of procedures and their working are taken into account and suitable modifications are made therein.