Social organisation

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This article is about a sociological concept. For zoosemiotics term, see Social animal

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

Social organisations can take many forms, depending on a social context. For example, for family context the corresponding social organisation is of course the family. For business context - an enterprise, company, corporation, etc. For educational context - school, university, etc. For political context - government, political party, and others. Commonly, experts officially recognize these five major social institutions that have been evident in some way in every civilization in history: government, religion, education, economics, and family.

Max Weber concluded that in the history of mankind, organisations evolved towards rationalisation in form of a rational-legal organisation, like bureaucracy.

[edit] Organization vs institution

The term institution is in sociology sometimes used interchangeably with the term organization, as when referring to a formal organization like a hospital or a prison. In other parts of sociology, like 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 social entities that have members, resources, structures, authority, boundaries, etc. Institutions are ideas about how something should be done, look or be constituted in order to be viewed as legitimate. the issue is complicated by the fact that one may talk of institutions that govern organisations and the organization as an institution. Following new institutionalism, one can talk of the family as an organization, meaning an entity that is made up of members (parents, children), have resources (household possessions and incomes), authority (parents are responsible for and decide over children), etc. But one can also talk of the family as an institution, meaning the idea of how a social entity should be constituted to be considered a family: two (no more, no less) grown up heterosexual persons of opposite sex that live together, preferably are married, and have at least one of their biological children living at home. Any social entity not consistent with the institution of the family risk losing legitimacy and be sanctioned...

[edit] See also

Social organisation

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