David Toole reflects on the purpose of institutions at Faith and Leadership blog:
David Toole: What are institutions for?
Institutions at their best are the definitive expression of what it means to be human, and their purpose is to generate creativity by organizing human efforts to a common end.
Posted at Faith and Leadership blog
Wendell Berry once asked an incisive question: “What are people for?” Berry posed this question to make the point that the shifts from country to city that were redefining the demographics of America (and of the world) were not an obvious advance in the human condition.
It is only a small step from Berry’s question to this one: “What are institutions for?”
We live almost entirely within institutions of one sort or another. We are, as Robert Greenleaf once said, “institution-bound.” Moreover, we are in the habit of making grand claims about our institutions -- often about their failures, sometimes about their successes. But we rarely pause to ask ourselves about their purpose.
Peter Drucker once defined an institution as “an instrument for the organization of human efforts to a common end.”
. . .
The lesson is simple: human accomplishment depends upon the ways in which human beings organize themselves and their efforts toward a common end; conversely, human failure on any significant scale is often the result of poor or misdirected organization.