Difference between Directions and Directives

Key difference: The main difference between directions or directive is the fact that a directive is mainly an order, usually issued by an authority. A directive may establish policy, assign responsibilities, define objectives and delegate authority to those working in and with the authoritative figure. Directions, on the other hand, are in the form of guidelines. They are mainly utilized while guiding somebody into a particular direction. Directions are mainly associated with driving directions, which aim to get somebody from point A to point B.

Directions and directives are two terms that the often confused. A person may be needed to follow directions or a directive. So, what exactly is the difference between the two and which should be used when?

Dictionary.com defines directions as:

  • The act or an instance of directing.
  • The line along which anything lies, faces, moves, etc., with reference to the point or region toward which it is directed: The storm moved in a northerly direction.
  • The point or region itself: The direction is north.
  • A position on a line extending from a specific point toward a point of the compass or toward the nadir or the zenith.
  • A line of thought or action or a tendency or inclination: the direction of contemporary thought.
  • Usually, directions. Instruction or guidance for making, using, etc.: directions for baking a cake.
  • Order; command.
  • Management; control; guidance; supervision: a company under good direction.
  • A directorate.
  • The name and address of the intended recipient as written on a letter, package, etc.
  • Decisions in a stage or film production as to stage business, speaking of lines, lighting, and general presentation.
  • The technique, act, or business of making such decisions, managing and training a cast of actors, etc.
  • The technique, act, or business of directing an orchestra, concert, or other musical presentation or group.
  • Music. A symbol or phrase that indicates in a score the proper tempo, style of performance, mood, etc.
  • A purpose or orientation toward a goal that serves to guide or motivate; focus: He doesn't seem to have any direction in life.

While, a directive is defined as:

  • Serving to direct; directing: a directive board.
  • Psychology. Pertaining to a type of psychotherapy in which the therapist actively offers advice and information rather than dealing only with information supplied by the patient.
  • An authoritative instruction or direction; specific order: a new directive by the President on foreign aid.

The main difference between directions or directive is the fact that a directive is mainly an order, usually issued by an authority. A directive may establish policy, assign responsibilities, define objectives and delegate authority to those working in and with the authoritative figure. A directive may establish or describe a policy, a program and/or an organization. For example: directive to set up a government entity, directive to set up a local subsidy, directive to set up an overseas office, directive to reduce wastage, directive for recycling, etc.

Directions, on the other hand, are in the form of guidelines. They are mainly utilized while guiding somebody into a particular direction. Directions are mainly associated with driving directions, which aim to get somebody from point A to point B. However, they can be associated with anything that may lead somebody somewhere, especially in a particular direction.

Example: The government may issue a directive to establish a local institution and may delegate authority to the state government. The government will also provide directions for the state government to follow in order to set up the institution.

Image Courtesy: twistynoodle.com, mitrefinch.co.uk

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