Government vs. Governance

Government or Governance? The Difference Between Although the words governance and government might sound similar to some, they…

Government or Governance? The Difference Between

Although the words governance and government might sound similar to some, they do not have similar meanings. The difference between governance and government is analogous to the differences between official and officer, and bureaucrat and bureaucracy. Here, we will try to clarify this difference and prevent further confusion between the terms governance and government.


The government is a body composed of a single person or group, which is running the country. This means that the government has power over the country. Many forms of governments exist, such as democracy, monarchy, and socialist governments, but we will not delve deeper into those. Instead, we shall focus on ‘government’ in general. Normally, a government mandated by the people runs the state, taking care of the country’s affairs in a term that typically lasts 4 to 6 years. After that period, the previous government is succeeded by a new one unless the people think that it had done well in running the country and re-elects it.


The term governance, on the other hand, refers to the government’s activities. It is the word that generally describes the laws and rules set and implemented by the government. Governance is the process in which the government governs its people or state.

Differentiating Between the Two

To further explain the difference between governance and government, let us take for example a business owned by a man we will call Bob. The way Bob runs the business, supervising and making the most of his employees’ talents and abilities, is what we call management. Now, management here is similar to governance, while Bob is our government. Of course, unlike Bob, who owns the business, a government does not own a country, even if it does rule it; just like how Bob runs his business. Also, it is the people that mandate the government, giving it the power to govern; to establish principles and systems, and run the country’s affairs.


Governance may be bad or good. That depends on how the people’s perception and they may choose to impeach a certain government or remove it from power.

Governance is simply what the government does. It’s the act of exercising the powers bestowed upon it by setting and implementing rules and laws that would keep the country or state in order and prosperous.

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