What Is Government?
Government is the organization responsible for managing a nation, state or other political unit. It is also responsible for the laws of a society, defense, foreign affairs, the economy and public services. While the responsibilities of all governments are similar, how those responsibilities are executed is what distinguishes different types of government. Some examples of governments are a direct democracy, a representative democracy, socialism, communism, an oligarchy and an autocracy.
The main goal of a government is to secure the national borders and safety of its citizens. It accomplishes this by imposing taxes on goods and services, drafting budgets and establishing other means of raising revenue. This money is then spent on various things such as education, housing and transportation for the people. Governments, regardless of type, are ultimately accountable to their constituents for the decisions they make.
In the United States, local, state and federal levels of government are all elected by the citizens to oversee city councils, legislatures and Congress. These bodies make laws to govern their jurisdictions and draft budgets for how these revenues will be used to provide services such as police and fire departments, education, transportation and health care. Governments also help to protect the common goods that all citizens can benefit from but which are in limited supply. For example, if the ocean is filled with fish, it would be unfair for some individuals to take all the fish and leave others without anything. Governments are also tasked with protecting these resources from waste, abuse or theft.
There is a popular misconception that the U.S. government is by and for the people, which is a sentiment that was only recently developed as a philosophy. Earlier, the idea of a government for the people was viewed as a threat, as it implied that the power of a country lay in the hands of an elite few who did not represent the interests of all citizens.
Policies set internal accountability structures for a government agency, defining the expected standards of performance for all staff members. It is important that all policies are clear and understandable to everyone who reads them, not just subject matter experts or employees. To ensure that a policy is easy to understand, it should use simple language and define terms with specific meanings. In addition, a policy should list the procedures for implementing it to maintain consistency. When a procedure is well documented, it can then be institutionalized, allowing staff to easily follow the same steps for carrying out routine tasks. This increases efficiency and fosters a sense of ownership by employees who can see that their contributions have a direct impact on the outcome of a project or event. This is a key factor in employee engagement and retention.