Seeing institutions in different ways
Seeing institutions in different ways

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Seeing institutions in different ways

Individual agency and institutional contradiction

Engberg-Pedersen is as generous as Brett with his insights into the qualities of institutions and the nature of institutional development. Two aspects of his theoretical approach are of particular significance:

  • Individual agency: Engberg-Pedersen places particular value on an individual’s critical engagement with elements of institutions that frame her or his behaviour. Quite apart from the general significance of this in institutional development, it has an important message with respect to professional behaviour and self-understanding. ‘Reflecting on the institutional context’ and choosing ‘action which confronts or bypasses a specific institutional element’ brings about change both socially and within the individual. The BancoSol story provides an example of one such action.
  • Institutional contradictions: This is the title of Engberg-Pedersen’s article. He identifies something that will, if you are involved in any process of development, strike you as a critical issue in the process: the encounter between different and differing ‘symbolic orders’, most obviously the symbolic orders of, on the one hand, the ‘interveners’, and, on the other, the ‘beneficiaries’. This is an encounter in which the new symbolic order contradicts the old, with the interveners in effect saying to the beneficiaries, ‘You’ve got it wrong’. The beneficiaries, in return, think that the interveners must have got it wrong.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371