The terms association and institution are commonly used by people to mean one and the same thing. But the difference between the two terms is of great importance in sociology.

When men create associations they must also create institutions to get their desires satisfied. Men form an association to satisfy their need or needs. But these needs are fulfilled through institu­tions.

Every association has its own institutions. For example, family, as an association has its insti­tutions like marriage, the property system, the system of inheritance, the home, the family-meal, etc.

A state, as an association may have its institutions like government, legislative procedures, parlia­ment, etc. Institutions are impossible without associations. Institutions may be established by com­munity as well as by association. The table below makes clear the difference between association and institution.