Collective Behavior and Institutionalization

What is required, in particular, is to make more explicit the recog­nition that institutionalization is an ongoing, circular, systemic process, and not an open-ended chain of events with clear-cut antecedents and consequences. From a systems view, we might see it as a feedback, or pseudo-feedback, process that contains both negative (stabilizing or rigidi­fying) elements and positive (structure-elaborating, or increasingly dis­organizing) features. (See Figure 5-1) As some of the newer views are beginning to suggest, such closure is essential for a fully dynamic model of the sociocultural system. In one way or another, the point is being made that institutional structures help to create and recreate themselves in an ongoing developmental process. The modern systems perspective is providing conceptual tools that are taking the mysticism out of the no­tions of „immanent change“ and the harboring of „seeds“ of an institu­tion’s own destruction–or construction. Whether directly inspired by the modem perspective or not, current theory is moving in similar or compatible directions.