Business policy basically deals with decisions regarding the future of an ongoing enterprise. Such policy decisions are taken at the top level after carefully evaluating the organizational strengths and weaknesses in terms of product price, quality, leadership position, resources etc., in relation to its environment. Once established the policy decisions shape the future of a company channel the available resources along desired lines and direct the energies of people working at various levels towards predetermined goals. In a way, business policy implies the choice of purposes, the shaping of organizational identity and character the continuous definition of what is to be achieved and the deployment of resources for achieving corporate goals.
Some useful definitions of Business Policy
1) A business policy is an implied overall guide setting up boundaries that supply the general limit and direction in which managerial action will take place.
2) A business policy is one, which focuses attention on the strategic allocation of scarce resources. Conceptually speaking strategy is the direction of such resource allocation while planning is the limit of allocation
3) A business policy represents the best thinking of the company management as to how the objectives may be achieved in the prevailing economic and social conditions
4) A business policy is the study of the nature and process of choice about the future of independent enterprises by those responsible for decisions and their implementation
5) The purpose of a business policy is to enable the management to relate properly the organization’s work to its environment. Business policies are guides to action or channels to thinking.
Business policies generally have a long life. They are established after a careful evaluation of various internal and external factors having an impact on the firm’s market standing As and when circumstances change in a major way the firm is naturally forced to shift gears, rethink and reorient its policies. The World Oil crisis during the 70s has forced many manufacturers all over the globe to reverse the existing practices and pursue a policy of manufacturing fuel efficient cars. Therefore, policies should be changed in response to changing environmental and internal system conditions.
Types of policies
There are many types of policies – marketing policies, financial policies, production policies, personnel policies to name a few in every organization. Within each of these areas more specific policies are developed. For example, personnel policies may cover recruitment, training, promotion and retirement policies. Viewed from a systems angle, policies form a hierarchy of guides to managerial thinking. At the top of level policy statements are broad. The management is responsible for developing and approving major comprehensive company policies. Middle managers usually establish less critical policies relating to the operation of their sub units. Policies tend to be more specific at lower levels. The manager’s job is to ensure the consonance of these policies, each must contribute to the objectives of the firms and there should be no conflict between sub system policies.
Although it is customary to think of policies as written statements it is not necessarily the case. For example a firm may simply decline to consider handicapped employees in the selection of new personnel. In effect, this becomes an effective policy even though the company has never verbalized its position.