What are the Five Functions of Social Institutions?

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 00:53 -- Umar Farooq

An institution is specifically established for fixed social needs. If it fulfils these needs there is social Solidarity and cohesion among the people. If it fails to meet prescribed objectives there is dysfunctioning of the institution and state of unrest will emerge among the people. Generally, the following are the functions of social institution in societies of the world.


The institutions reproduce human race, goods, services, traditions and all other patterns of social life. Human race is reproduced in family. Material goods and services are produced and distributed by economic institutions. Power and authority and status and role are produced and enforced by the political institutions. The religious institutions’ products are rituals, values, beliefs and ceremonies. Educational institutions provide different techniques and ways of living for the people.


All the institutions preserve social norms by transmitting them to the people participating in them. The process of socialization starts from birth and continues up to the end of life. Man is always in learning process. The learning of the ways of life in social groups is called' socialization. Or the inducting of man into social life is. Socialization. This process goes on through the institutions because man lives in them. He learns norms of social life only in the institutions. Family teaches the elementary norms called folkways. The neighborhood teaches mores and educational institutions guide in legal courses of social life. The bazars and markets guide us in economic dealing. The religious institutions help us in the normative social life of a religion.

Sense of Purpose

Every institution is established for the fulfillment of a special purpose. Harvard University provide quality education. Hamdard Dawakhana prepares unani medicines only. Pak-Arab Fertilizer Factory, Multan provides fertilizer to the peasants. Hospitals provide heath facility to the community. Similarly, religious institutions impart religious education to the students. It means social institutions fulfill fixed needs of the people and continue their respective aims.

Preservation of Social Order

The main aim of human Societies is to maintain control and order. This aim can be achieved by creating an organization among the institutions. An institution cannot function alone without cooperation and association of other institutions. This dependence among them is called organization. But this dependence among the institutions tie them together in the bond of mutual relationship. This mutual relationship among the social institutions is social structure called "Tangency of Institutions". The institutions when organized together create the condition of control and order among the societies.  This order and control has its relationship with social solidarity. The social structure which is organized and in order, creates social solidarity and stability in society and the government Political institutions, specially are assigned this function of social order and control.

Transmission of Culture

All the institutions are embodiments of cultural configuration. This store of culture remains dead if not transmitted with a change. Every generation adds something into it from its experience while passing on to the next generation. The process of transmission is completed by formal and informal education through various social institutions. Even the market places play this role. The mosque, the bus journey, the marriage customs, the labor service and the administration of the public affairs, all are transmitting institutions of cultural traits.

Personality Development

The institutions shape personalities of the individuals. A child born to an Indian or Pakistani family if socialized in America will display American personality traits in him after 1 to 10 years of life. It means personality is not a biological process. It is a social process and depends upon the institutions which socialize it. Personality develops in the institutions which socialize it. The nature and characteristics of social institutions reacts in the personality of the individual which socialize them. Institutions are the organs of society and shape it in the way in which they are interrelated. Ideas, habits, attitudes and feelings being the parts of personality develop in various social institutions in which the individual lives.

Self is also a social product and not a biological trait. The child at birth has no self. During social interaction in family the child feels his existence as I. This feeling of I and ME is the rise of the self in the child. Self is an essential part of human personality and is produced within the institution of family.