Sociology Index

Social Organization

Organizational Culture, Abstracts, Books on Organization, Social Network

How do people organize themselves beyond the family unit? Social organization or social institution works to socialize the groups or people in it. Social organization are patterns of relationships organized to meet some human needs.

Sociology has approached the study of organizations in a number of ways. Earlier studies stressed the formal features of organizations, and described their internal functioning and the relationships among participants within the bounds of the organization itself. Over the past twenty years or so, however, a new perspective has emerged, one that sees the organization in the context of its surrounding environment (Aldrich & Marsden, 1988).

Formal organizations are understood to be systems of coordinated and controlled activities that arise when work is embedded in complex networks of technical relations and boundary-spanning exchanges. But in modern societies, formal organizational structures arise in highly institutional contexts. Organizations are driven to incorporate the practices and procedures defined by prevailing rationalized concepts of organizational work and institutionalized in society.

There can develop a tension between on the one hand, the institutionalized products, services, techniques, policies, and programs that function as myths and efficiency criteria on the other hand. To maintain ceremonial conformity, organizations that reflect institutional rules tend to buffer their formal structures from the uncertainties of the technical activities by developing a loose coupling between their formal structures and actual work activities. - (John Meyer and Brian Rowan, 1976)