Essay: Social organizations or institutions arise out of social needs and situations of members


Social organizations or institutions arise out of social needs and situations of members. These organizations are the means through which individuals adjust their behaviour to environmental conditions.

Lapiere says that “social organization consists of all the ways by which men live and work together, more especially of all the programmed, ordered and coordinated relations of the members of the society.” Social organisations at different levels organize and give expression to collective behaviour. They coordinate and crystallize numerous interests of individuals and groups.

Social organisations are of two broad types, namely, those which grow out of kinship and those that result from the free and voluntary associations of members. A brief analysis of a few such organizations may be given.



It is the earliest and the most universal of all social institutions. It is also the most natural, simplest and permanent form of social organization. In society, individuals are primarily organized into separate families and households.

Family is generally composed of husband, wife and their children. It may be defined as a group of persons, united either by the ties of marriage or blood relationship, having a common household, a common tradition or culture.

The form and features of family may be different from place to place and country to country but family as a social group exists everywhere. It may rightly be described as the keystone of the social arch. It performs a variety of functions like biological, emotional, economic, educational and cultural.



The members of a clan are supposed to be the descendants of common ancestors. They usually bear common surname. They are usually found among primitive people and members act through the guidance of a chieftain.

They are associated through common social, religious and cultural ceremonies. Members practice exogamy; they do not marry a person belonging to the same clan. All members worship a totem or a symbolic object like cow, bull, bird etc.



A tribe is a wider social organization than clan and has been defined as “a social group of a simple kind, and members of which speak a common dialect, have a common government and act together for such common purpose as welfare.” Tribe is usually formed after a stronger clan subordinates a weaker one.

Tribe has a government with a tribal chief as its head. It is organized for military purposes and has a common dialect and language. Though devoid of blood relationship, a tribe maintains solidarity among its members.


One way of organizing individuals on secular lines is through formation of communities and associations. A community is defined as “the total organisation of social life within a limited area.” A community is a self-sufficient group based on common life. The area of a community may range from narrow to very broad (even global) limits.



MacIver defines, “An association as a group organized for the pursuit of an interest or group of interests in common.” Associations may be of various types including kinship, religious, cultural, recreational, philanthropic, vocational, political groups. Primarily political associations like the state and its coercive agency, the government are part of society.

What are the cause that makes an individual a social animal?

Man, according to the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, is a social animal:


He is born in society, lives in society and dies in society. We find human beings, both civilized and uncivilized, living everywhere in groups and societies. Man is a gregarious animal Kt craves the company of his fellow beings.

He has a natural urge and instinct to live an associated life with others. Aristotle observes that a man who has no need of society is either a beast or a God. All normal individuals have an instinctive desire to live with others and share the fruits of common life.

Man is not only a social animal by nature but also by necessity. Social life is indispensable to man. It has been aptly said that if nature impels man to lead social life, necessity compels him to do so. Man’s material, moral and mental needs warrant him to live and work in cooperation with others.

Aristotle says that society continues to exist for the sake of ‘good life’. MacIver observes: “his birth in society brings with it the absolute need of society itself.” The following reasons are advanced to support the contention that man is preeminently a social animal and he has intrinsic need of social life.

1. Helplessness in Childhood:

Man needs society for his very existence or survival. The human child is born helpless. For several years he needs the care and love of parents and others for his very survival and growth. In the animal world most young ones are able to look after themselves after some days. But the human child depends on others for a long time. This prolonged dependence compels him to live in a society.

2. Survival and Self-Defense:

The child, from its birth, wants to live. It is his natural instinct to try to survive in the face of all odds. From the beginning he depends on others for his defense. Only in the society, his defense and security are possible. Man lives with others.

In any adversity he seeks the assistance and support of others. The society is the source of help for the individual. The life, wealth and liberty of the individual are protected by several social customs and practices. Without society, there will be anarchy, and life will be a hell.

3. Development of Personality:

The inherent capacities and potentialities of the child can develop only in society. The child learns to speak, enquire and think in society. By constant interaction with other individuals the child develops his faculties and achieves human personality.

It is rightly said that “the self can come into being only in society with the give and take of group life.” Society provides a congenial atmosphere for the development of human personality.

4. Satisfaction of Wants:

No man can satisfy all his wants all by himself. No man can produce all the goods and render all the services he requires. He has to depend on his fellow beings to satisfy his innumerable wants.

5. Insurance against Odds:

Society provides insurance or security to man against all odds in life. He may suffer from illness, disablement and destitution. He may meet accidents and remain unemployed. He has to fall back upon his family members, friends and other individuals during his period of insecurity and heavy odds.

6. Store-House of Knowledge:

Society is the repository of wisdom and experience handed down from generation to generation. Men ‘living in society share and benefit by such wisdom and experience and make their individual contributions to varied fields of social life, Man utilizes the social advantages and resources and develops his personality.

7. Isolation is Punishment:

Isolation breeds retardation in human growth. If a child is separated from others in society, his growth is stunted. Sometimes isolation or banishment from society is imposed as a punishment on criminals.

Thus man is closely related to society from his very birth. His nature impels him and his necessities compel him to live in society.

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