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To help you to understand the complexity of institutional development, this free course, Seeing institutions in different ways, will present institutions in three key ways: as rules and norms, as meanings and values and as big players. The rules govern social life and the norms establish how people should behave, while institutional development is about changing the rules. Meanings help people make sense of their lives and values indicate what is good or bad, while institutional development brings in new values. The big players are individuals and organisations with the power to shape social life, while institutional development struggles over what social life should be like.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand different ways of thinking about institutions and institutional development
- appreciate that institutions in processes of development create pictures of institutional landscapes
- understand some of the factors that can promote or hinder institutional development
- locate yourself in the institutions significant for life and work.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Institutions as rules and norms
- 1.1 Rules, norms and institutions
- 1.2 Institutions as sets of rules and norms
- 1.3 ‘Institutions’ and ‘organisations’
- 1.4 Institutions as rules and norms in your life and in development
- 1.5 Institutional development: changing the rules, the rules changing
- 1.6 A story of changing the rules
- 1.7 Looking at BancoSol through a different lens
- 2 Institutions as shared meanings and values
- 3 Institutions as ‘big players’
- 4 Extending ways of seeing institutions
- 4.1 Questioning institutions and institutional development
- 4.2 Key concepts of institutional development
- 4.3 Levels of action
- 4.4 Identifying a conceptual framework
- 4.5 Analysing an institutional landscape
- 4.6 Interrogating a conceptual framework
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Seeing institutions in different ways
The central focus of development studies is how social and economic change can be achieved successfully. Critical to this success is institutional development, as it is through developments in institutions that development in the policies that drive change can be achieved. However, institutions are rich and complex phenomena, and institutional development is a rich and complex process. It is therefore possible and necessary to look at institutions from different angles and see them in different ways. This free course encourages you to do exactly that, in order to establish a base from which to think about institutional development.
This course presents you with three widely accepted ways of seeing institutions:
- Institutions as rules and norms: We will look at the differences between institutions and organisations, and how they relate to each other. The course also suggests that, if institutions are seen as rules governing social life, then it seems appropriate to view institutional development as a matter of changing the rules.
- Institutions as meanings and values: This course suggests that resistance to change can be seen as arising when and because that change has no meaning for people who are expected to accept it, or it offends their deeply-held values. Resistance thus generated can be particularly powerful and effective because so much is at stake.
- Institutions as big players: This course draws attention to the centrality of power and power relationships in institutional development, and shows how institutional development involves power struggles.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course TU872.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free People, Politics & Law courses or view the range of currently available OU People, Politics & Law courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 29th March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 29th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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