Social organization vs social disorganization

Social organization vs social disorganization

The term ‘social disorganization’ is often held in contrast with ‘social organization’. As Ogburn and Nimkoff have pointed out that “an organization is an orderly relationship of parts. But the significance of this orderly arrangement of parts lies in what it does”. For example, a factory is an organization for the purpose of production. A factory is composed of internal sub organizations such as sales department, accounting department, supply department, etc. The factory as a social system performs yet another function. It serves to maintain a balance among its sub organizations or parts. This equilibrium of parts means a synchronization or integration of functions. Hence the functions of selling department, production department, buying department, etc, must be properly articulated and coordinated. “Disorganization is a disturbance of the balance existing in the functions of parts. The criterion of disorganization is function, what is done or not done”… Thus, a typewriter may write well or badly or not at all, because of an imbalance in the functioning of its parts as, for instance, in the ribbon or keys”. – Ogburn and Nimkoff.

What is true a factory is also true of a society. Society can be said to be in a state of organization, when all its parts such as associations and institutions are properly integrated so that they fulfill their recognized or implied functions or purpose. Social disorganization implies some breakdown in the social organization. Due to this breakdown, the normal functioning of the parts of the society gets disturbed leading to some or the other kind of problems. Disorganization will lead to functional imbalance between various elements of social structure.

The terms ‘social organization’ and ‘social disorganization’ are relative. They represent two aspects of the whole functioning of the social system. As there may be various degrees of social organization, so is the case with social disorganization. No society can be in a state of either perfect organization or disorganization.

As S.A. Queen, W.B. Bodenhofer and E.B. Haper have said social disorganization is a counter part, of social organization. “Just as social organization provides the means by which a society maintains its unity and cohesion through effective control of its members, and hence, functions smoothly, social disorganization causes a weakening of group solidarity, loss of control over its members, and, therefore, conflict and disintegration. Social organization implies the existence of institutions, which meet the needs of the members of a society. Social disorganization, on the other hand, means the malfunctioning of institutions, their failure to satisfy the needs of the people and the consequent frustration of their desire.” Thus, “if social organization means the development of relationships which persons and groups find mutually satisfactory, then, disorganization means their replacement by relationships which bring disappointment, thwarted wishes, irritation and unhappiness”.

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