- Movements become organisations and then additionally institutions, changing from a kind of second to third gear.
An organisation is a technical machine for mobilizing energies and achieving aims by devising and enforcing rules, dividing up work and co-ordinating results. It needs managing, based on competence. It gets things done, mainly pragmatically, within the constraints of what can be done and the limitations of the human beings involved.
An institution is an uber-organization, responsive, adaptive organism, with a script about surviving and flourishing long term. It needs leadership, based on values. In a mature body you need both, but if the long-term Institutional leadership breaks down, the organisation fails. Take football: the organisational needs are fulfilled by clubs and players. Without them there'd be no game. The institutional needs are fulfilled on a Meta level by the rules, referees and administrators. Effective management is no substitute for good reffing. Nor vice versa.
- Many snafus with Church, including focus and identity probems among ordinands come from not understanding this distinction. People become frustrated when they expect the Institution to manage, and mostake the local management for the whole institution; which in a sense it is, but in another it isn’t. Neither strategy works, long-term. People who underestimate the organisational dimension lose practical capacity, and tend to fantasy. People who underestimate the institutional dimension tend to pure pragmatism, and easily lose spiritual and world-transforming focus.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Church: Institution & Organisation
Two thoughts from our bishop’s staff reflection with Professor Martyn Percy, using Philip Selznik’s sociological concepts of Organisation/ Institution: