Social organisation


Social organisation

Social organization or social institution, refers to a group of social positions, connected by social relations, performing a social role. It can also be defined in a narrower sense as any institution in a society that works to socialize the groups or people in it. Common examples include education, governments, families, economic systems, religions, and any people or groups that you have social interaction with. It is a major sphere of social life organized to meet some human needs.

Social organizations can take many forms, depending on the social context. For example, for family context the corresponding social organization is the extended family. In the business context a social organization may be an enterprise, company, corporation, etc. In the educational context, it many be a school, university, etc. In the political context it may be a government, political party, etc. Commonly, experts officially recognize these five major social institutions that have been evident in some way in every civilization in history: government, religion, education, economy, and family.

To give a simple example: productive institutions are dependent on educational institutions for a skilled workforce, educational institutions are dependent on the government for their funding, and government institutions, in turn, rely on productive institutions to create wealth to finance government spending. Sociologists call this institutional interdependence.

Max Weber concluded that in the history of mankind, organizations evolved towards rationalization in the form of a rational-legal organization, like bureaucracy.

Organization vs. institution

The term organization is in sociology sometimes used interchangeably with the term institution, as when referring to a formal organization like a hospital or a prison. In other parts of sociology, such as the sociology of organizations and especially new institutionalism (also new institutional economics in economics and historical institutionalism in political science), 'organization' and 'institution' refer to two different phenomena. Organizations are a group of individuals pursuing a set of collective goals with established roles, methods of coordination, procedures, culture and space. [(Jonnsson, 2007)] Organizations can include political bodies (political parties, Congress, Department of Corrections), social groups (churches, clubs, athletic associations), economic bodies (unions, cooperatives, corporations), and educational bodies (schools, training centers, colleges). [(North, 1990)] Institutions are ideas about how something should be done, look or be constituted in order to be viewed as legitimate. Institutions can be defined as a “stable collection of social practices consisting of easily recognized roles coupled with underlying norms and a set of rules or conventions defining appropriate behavior for, and governing relations among, occupants of these roles” . [(Jonsson, 2007, p. 5)] Institutions provide structure, guidelines for behavior and shape human interaction. [(Martin, 2004; North, 1990; Scott, 1995)] Institutions are also characterized by social practices that reoccur or are repeated over time by members of a group [(Martin,2004)] . Institutions may or may not involve organizations. The issue is complicated by the fact that one may talk of institutions that govern organizations and the organization as an institution.

References

*Jonsson, C. (2007). Organization, institution and process: Three approaches to the study of international organization. Prepared for ACUNS 20th Annual Meeting, New York, 6-8 June, 2007. Available at http://www.igloo.org/acunsnet/download-nocache/Programs%20and%20Events/ACUNS%20Annual%20Meetings/annualme/am2007pa/christer
*Martin, P. Y. (2004). Gender as a social institution. Social Forces, 82, 1249-1273.
*North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
*Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • social organisation — noun the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships the social organization of England and America is very different sociologists have studied the changing structure of the family • Syn:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • social organisation — /ˌsoʊʃəl ɔgənaɪˈzeɪʃən/ (say .sohshuhl awguhnuy zayshuhn) noun the structure of relations inside a group, usually the relations of subgroups and of institutions. Also, social organization …   Australian English dictionary

  • Social position — is the position of an individual in a given society and culture. A given position (for example, the occupation of priest ) may belong to many individuals. Social position influences social status. One can have several social positions, but only… …   Wikipedia

  • Social innovation — refers to new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds from working conditions and education to community development and health and that extend and strengthen civil society. Over the years, the term has… …   Wikipedia

  • Social entropy — is a macrosociological systems theory. Social Entropy is a measure of the natural decay within a social system. It can refer to the decomposition of social structure or of the disappearance of social distinctions. Much of the energy consumed by a …   Wikipedia

  • Social disorganization theory — In sociology, the Social Disorganization Theory was one of the most important theories developed by the Chicago School, related to ecological theories.William Isaac Thomas and Florian ZnanieckiThomas and Znaniecki (1918 1920) introduced the idea… …   Wikipedia

  • Social productivity — The term social is derived from the Latin word socius , which as a noun means an associate, ally, companion, business partner or comrade . The adjectival form socialis refers to a bond between people (such as marriage) or to their collective or… …   Wikipedia

  • Social anarchism — Not to be confused with Social Anarchism (journal). Part of the Politics series on Anarchism …   Wikipedia

  • social disorganisation — /soʊʃəl dɪsˌɔgənaɪˈzeɪʃən/ (say sohshuhl dis.awguhnuy zayshuhn) noun Sociology 1. the breaking up of the structure of a social organisation. 2. the non existence of a social organisation. Also, social disorganization …   Australian English dictionary

  • social organization — noun the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships (Freq. 2) the social organization of England and America is very different sociologists have studied the changing structure of the family • …   Useful english dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.