Institutions: Meaning, Characteristics, Types, Functions

Institutions Introduction: For any individual or group to survive, it is important that certain human functions are kept in mind. like the function of controlling the process of reproduction. For the society to exist, it’s important that the members of this society themselves keep supplying its members with a nurturing environment. And this is possible only through reproduction.

institutions eamples and meaning

And these reproduced members exist as a part of the family institution, which is, in turn, a part of the larger institution that is society. Other functions include law and order because these are what guide the families to live in an orderly fashion.

To make sure that the members of the family and society can support theirs and their family’s financial requirements, the economic institution is created. This depends on the education of the person for which education is supplied through the educational institution. In this way, many institutions exist with the aim of providing the specific details required to live.

Meaning of Institutions:

Institutions are established ways of doing things. It refers to those rules and regulations which in their abstractness focus on the practicality of them by maintaining social interaction and regulated behaviour pattern. It involves discipline and curbing human emotions and behaviour. Recognized usage and procedures are known as institutions of Sociology.

These established rules help create unity among the members which takes the institution forward.

There are norms set for and by every society. Even though these norms differ from society to society, the members of a particular society stick to their norms. Only then can the institution prosper. If each one will focus only on themselves then the essence of the institution will be lost and there could be chaos. Say the parents need steady support without which they cannot look after their children because the institution of a family does not teach one that it is their responsibility to look after their children.

It is a natural drive and instinct. This is what makes the generation and institution forward else it might collapse. Everyone had to understand their role, reversal of which may alter the peace of the society and it’s members in general.

Because of the presence of organized ways of livelihood, there’s not much competition else many people would have found difficult to survive. In a way, society is helped by the institutions in order to function and are the pillars of society. Without one the other cannot function properly. It is a combined supplication so they are interdependent.

If the economic condition is good, automatically a good family can be established. Similarly for a good family to live in a good way, financial strength is necessary. How well the family will run, depends on how educated its members are. Thus the concept of Institution is important to study many social sciences. Every person might have their own idea of an institution.

Characteristics of an Institution:

  1. A cluster of social usage:

A cultural system exists and all follow the same cultural practices and traditions.

  1. The relative degree of permanence:

The beliefs are laid out and tried and tested over time. If they sustain then they become the fundamental beliefs of the institution and gain a permanent recognition.

  1. Well-known defined Objectives:

The Objectives resonate with the cultural norms. It is kept in mind that the people are made to understand the difference between the Objectives and the functions.

  1. Cultural Objects of Utilitarian Value.
  2. Institutions are Transmitters of Social Heritage.
  3. They are resistant to social changes due to the rigidity of beliefs.

Types of Institutions:

  1. Crescive Institution

These include matters of property, religion, and marriage and are unconsciously originated.

  1. Enacted Institutions

These include business and credit Institutions that are related to profits and the economy and hence are consciously established.

  1. Basic Institutions

These are simply those that are regarded as important to maintain social order in society.  The Family Institutions, Political Institutions, Educational Institutions, Religious Institutions etc.

  1. Subsidiary Institutions

        These Institutions are a bit complex in the way that they aren’t necessarily so much in order to maintain social order. Like recreational activities and clubs come under these Institutions.

Further Institutions can also be classified into Operative Institution and Relative Institution.

The operative is those whose function is to organize patterns which are necessary to attain any objective. E.g. institution of Industrialism.

Relative Institutions are those which aren’t a part of the regulatory institution themselves but help in controlling the custom and other types of behaviour.

Functions of Institutions:

  1. They simplify the actions and work of the individual.
  2. They provide a means to control society and people who constitute it.
  3. Every individual is assigned a role depending on which he can achieve and regulate his status.
  4. They help to maintain the order in society.
  5. They act as stimulants by giving the required freedom.
  6. Create harmony and unity amongst the members of society.

Association and institution both differ in that they depend on the kinds of roles and positions the members acquire in the setup.

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