! Understanding communities
Dysfunctional communities !
disability service organisations ! An
alternative model ! Community
research ! Community survey
institution could be describes as:
... any club, facility,
... has more than one member that
actively participates in the club,
facility, organisation or activity
... is organised within a defined set of formal and informal
values, roles, expectations and
... may be highly structured within these formal/informal
values, roles, expectations and
... shares a set of objectives
An institution therefore refers to:
... the setting of the activity: the
and anything that is removed from or added to, that may influence, aid
or protect the members,
... the structure of the activity: the various restrictions that are
added to, or removed from the activity, or the way the activity is
... the formal/informal behaviours and attitudes of the members: the
various policies, rules, roles,
hierarchies of the members.
|What are the characteristics associated
with being instituionalized & does the institution have any
I think institutions operate within guidelines and from those guidlines
people act in a certain manner. Its like customer service. People
expect a certain level of treatment and rights to be respected
especially when money is involved and to attract the consumers they
need to hit targets and they have ways of doing that.
If disipline is needed in prison and compassion is needed as a nurse
you can see how people will act differently.
All institutions operate within guidelines which also act like a belief
system to get what they want from life and to keep the 'majority' of
The characteristics in (people) i think are:
Linear thinking, lack of emotion, not always open to new methods of
doing things, convincing you their way is best and that you need to
trust their methods.
hope that helped!
Institutions are a part of the
construction of a community:
Institutions define the way we interact
with each other within a community. They are determined by the formal
informal cultures and
values of that community, and provide order and stability within that
Without a form of order and stability ...
... the community can not fulfill its
... there are no boundaries that define the community,
... the members do not see themselves as a part of the community,
... communication brakes down, or is nonexistent
... the commnity looses its skills and reources,
... the community can not fulfill its needs,
... clubs, teams, groups etc are no longer are a part of
Click on image to view details.
Characteristics of an institution:
While the characteristics of
institutions may be similar, the value that
is placed on the institution is mostly determined by the society or
community in which it is used. The Institutions of one community may be
acceptable in providing a valued outcome, but be unacceptable in
another community because the outcomes may be seen to disadvantage the
members (devalued outcome). Traditional Aborigional communities (for
example) have a strict code of conduct that is seen as crule and
barbaric by our standards. While their institutions are viewed as
uncivilised, they managed to survive for thousands of years.
Characteristics of an
Institutional values (or social values)
are different to our personal values in that they allow the members to
function within the institution.
Institutions are all about a means of
coordination and cooperation. The hierarchy defines the agenda and
purpose, and the way things get done.
Leadership is probally the most
important role, and provides the identity and purpose within the
institution. Other roles are determined by the hierarchy and the
members in fulfilling the agenda and purpose of the institution.
The members are expected to fulfill
their assigned role within the institution.
The way the members treat each other or
interact with each other is determined by the culture, values,
hierarchy, roles and expectations of the members within the institution.
Charmaine Spencer (Chapter
4 The Institutional Environment (Characteristics of Institutions)
describes 11 characteristics of institutional care as:
... Standardization of Services
... Treating Residents as a Homogeneous Population
... Formalized Standards of Care Quality
... Hierarchical Structure
... Power Structure
... Professional or Work Relationship
... Medical/Custodial Model
... Dual Nature of Facilities as Personal Residence and Care Facility
... Separateness from Community"
... A bureaucratic form of management
... Has a set of formal/informal beliefs,
values, roles, cultures, expectations
... Formal/informal induction,
or rite of passage
... Have ownership of their members
... Walls, barriers etc. that separate the members from the wider
community (physical and/or psychological)
... Symbols of authority, keys and locks,
badges, uniforms, restricted areas
... Division of the setting/facility into different areas
... Division of the members into different groups
... Members have particular functions or roles
... These roles describe the
formal/informal behaviours and
expectations of the members
... The routine of the members is organised
... The institution is organised around a particular agenda
... The setting and the activities are designed around the particular
role/agenda of the
Think of the internet
Think of the various communities that
make up the internet
How do the above characteristics fit
into these communities?
Institutions and institutional
These 6 broad Characteristics can be
further broken down to describe a
Institutions can be thought of within two main groups:
1) Institutional care (formal
mechanisms for providing a service or support for a group in society.
2) Social institutions (informal
: provides the mechanisms for social
Any business, service or organisation that provides a service to a
group of people is organised around a set of cultures,
values, roles, hierarchies, behaviours and expectations. Whether the
service is a day care for
toddlers, a video hire, a school or hospital, nursing home or prison,
they all have the same characteristics. Institutional care is about a
specialised service that is provided within a community, where the
community does not have the skills and resources to provide for the
needs of it's members. While the characteristicts of the institutions
of the community,
business, service or organisation are the same, the outcomes of the
community, business, service or organisation are different.
Shows the relationship between
the skills and resources of the community,
and the amount of support that can be provided within the
care Vs Institutional care)
Are defined by the agenda, mission statement, objectives,
values and behaviours of the business, service or organisation. These
are generally set out
by a code of ethics and behaviours that can be used to measure the
outcomes of the institution. These can be voluntary, where the service,
organisation or busness sets its own standards, or mandatory, where
they are built into government regulations that allows the service to
... provides the role of the business,
service or organisation within society - what is its role?
... defines the way the business, service or organisation functions
within society - how does it do it?
... sets the scope and boundaries of the business, service or
organisation - when does it do it
... defines the roles of the members of the business, service or
organisation - who does what?
Any service that happens in an acceptable period of time, and does
much impact on our lives. I may get a plumber to fix the tap or go to
doctor for a checkup. I can get on with my normal lives without to
much irritation. If for some reason the plumber has to replace all the
pipes in the house, or I have to go the hospital for a few days,
my normal routine is disrupted for an appreciable amount of time, and
may create some stress for me and the others around me. I may enroll
in a course at school or uni and have to change my whole lifestyle to
accomodiate the different patterns and routines. I have books to buy,
lectures to attend, exams to pass, and various other social functions
associated with the school or uni. There are behavoiurs and
expectations required of me and this can be a very stressful period.
However I know that I am working toward a goal, and am prepared to
adjust my normal way of living for the period required. Even changing
a job or moving house can involve a stressful period until I adjust to
the new situation. What ever happens, I know that I still have some
control over my life and still have the choice to opt out of the
system if I choose to.
also makes the distinction between long term and short term stay. When
the stay is short time and the outcomes are positively
valued, the person may be able to adjust to their normal living
patterns quickly. Short term stay can also result in negative valued
outcomes that last a persons lifetime.
It could be argued that the process of institutionalisation starts
within our family, in
the day care centre or kindergarten or with friends
and peer groups. We learn the values and cultures from significant
others in our lives.
Whatever happens, there is a sense of control over our life. We can
and work toward a future, and those institutions are a part of the
backround, just as a canvas is the background that a picture is painted
on. Its only when these institutions become more promonent in our life,
that problems occur.
The longer the time in istitutional care, the more disruption occures
in a person's life.
There is a period of adjustment, and maybe rebellion, to the new
There is a learning curve involved in finding out how things work
(learning the ropes).
The amount of loss of independence depends on
the reason for the long term care
the amount of skill and resources the person has
the amount of skills and resources the service has
the amount of control the person has over his/her own life
A person may have to give up a significant amount of his/her previous
may be realocated to another setting
that is more able to provide for his/her needs.
Shows the relationship between
the length of care and the amount of institutionalised care provided.
A person may spend a few years in a hospital or in a university. The
amount of restrictions in the person's life depends on the
as well as the skills and resources of the service. The longer the
person spends in institutional care, the more institutionalised the
person becomes. For some, this can be a gradual process, and others,
this process can be sudden and abrupt. For others, it is the only way
of life that they have known. Goffman
acknowledges that the concept of a "Total institution" is a
concept only, that institutions can never be total, but can be
positioned on a continuum from open to closed (Total
Institutions: K. Joans & A.J. Fowles - In Understanding health and
social care By Margaret Allott, Martin Robb, 1998, Open University P.70
Goffman uses the term "institution" to describe the building and the
institution of the building (the social construction). An interesting
observation about the
concept of a "Total institution" is that there is an assumption is that
staff of the institution are just as institutionalised as the
residents, This may be the case where the staff treat others outside
the institution the same as the residents of the institution, however,
the term "institutionalised"
refers to the residents of the institution and not the staff, visitors
or any outside contact that staff may have with the outside world,
Therefore, any institution, where the residents have no
others, (staff, family, friends etc.) or the outside world, can be
as a total
institution in the truest sense of the word. Institutionalisation has
been used to describe the negative experiences and outcomes associated
with long term care.
It is also
that a person is
not considered institutionalised, where,
the experiences and/or outcomes
of the institutionalised care are positevely valued.
Informal institutions allow the members or groups to function within
organisation or busness. These institutions may vary according to what
the members do within the business, service or organisation. Different
members or groups have different functions or roles that allow these
groups to coordinate their activities within the organisation. These
institutions are informal because they are more about the way these
members and groups interact with each other, rather any formal
policies, rules or
regulations of the servise, organisation or busness. There can be any
number of layers in the business,
service or organisation, The bigger the business,
service or organisation, the more layers there may be.
The relationship between the
formal and informal institutions
within the business, service.
organisation or community.
These Informal insitiutions
could also be described as the social systems
of a business, service,
organisation or community.
- Peer groups
Are all ways that the members of a business, service, organisation or
community organise themselves.
While the community (business, service or organisation) or has a role
in society, each
group has another role within the community, and each member has a
different role within the group, within the community. The
institutions of each layer also determines the way the community
functions within society. Disability services (for example) have
different areas that
support people. Homes
have different cultures. One home may be supported along a medical
model and another may be supported along a social model. While each
home supports the formal institutions of the organisation, the informal
institutions of each home are different.
While the home may promote the cultures, values and institutions of the
organisation, the cultures, values and institutions of the home are
dependent on ...
The skills and resources of the staff and the residents
Two homes that are supported by an organisation may share the cultures,
values and institutions of the organisation, however the cultures,
values and institutions of the organisation of each home become more
important. Each home has its own identity. The needs of the residents
are different, the staff are different and are organised along
different routines that suit the needs within the home. Even within
each home the informal institutions change according to the
staff that are on duty. One shift may be highly organised and
structured along a medical model. Another shift bay be relaxed and
casual along a social model. The shift may have strong leadership and
is run along along organisational policies and proceedures
Institutional care, then, is an ordered
that requires an appropriate setting, skills and resources that are not
available within the wider community. The way the care is provided and
the outomes of this care are directly related to the service that
provides the support. A prision, for example, has the same institutions
as a hospital, however it is immediately obvious that the outcomes of
the prision and the hospital are different. Even within different
prisions and hospitals we see different outcomes.
From the above, it can be seen that the
institutions of the buildings and communities that disadvantaged people
were placed in,
are the same as the institutions of the different buildings and
communities that we
all participate in,
but have different outcomes. At he bank, we have to suffer all sorts of
indignities to get a loan or see a teller. There is no compensation
when something happens to our money because it is not their fault. Even
when it is there fault, there is no one that takes responsibility.
When referring to an
institution, there needs to be a new
perspective in the way we approch service delivery. Institutions are
neither open or closed, they just are. The way we use these
institutions within the service determines the outcomes of the service.
Within the banking institution ...
... There is a sense of loss of self
within the systen.
... A small staff/client ratio
... Are treated as objects (numbers, interns, defectives ect)
... Settings and activities are structured around staff --> clients
... Strict separation of staff and clients
While there are these negative outcomes, the value of the institution
is positively valued by society. The institution may also be negatively
valued by different communities within society.
denial of humanity and individuality
... no personal space
... no privacy
... little choice
... little comfort
... little personal safety
... few possessions
... no dignity
... no control, participation or
... cannot function as ordinary human
Other negative outcomes:
... A small staff/client ratio
... Low value (Sick Person, Subhuman,
Organism, Menace, Object of Pity, Burden of Charity, Holy Innocent,
Deviant etc. The
Origin and Nature of Our Institutional Models
... Low expectations
... Are treated as objects (numbers, interns, defectives ect)
... Settings and activities are structured around staff --> residents
... Strict separation of staff and residents
... Separation of residents into groups
... All residents are all treated and dressed the same
... All residents follow the same daily patterns of communal living
... There is no variety in the routine
... Activities are confined to the facility and separated from the
... respect for the person's
... right to self-determination
... right to be independent
Other positive outcomes:
... A large staff/client ratio
... High value
... High expectations
... Settings and activities are structured around residents --> staff
... Residents are treated as individuals
... Less structured daily patterns of communal living
... Variety of activities and different patterns in the routine to
... Mixed activities where residents are included in the normal
activities of the community (living, recreational, education and
Goffman describes four main
characteristics of institutional care as:
The inmate role
The institutional perspective
Rather than describing a characteristic
of institutional (the building
and the "social construction") life, Goffman
is actually describing a set of outcomes that are characterised by the "social construction"of the
institution. These outcomes are described as negatively valued
outcomes. When used in the context of the corrective services or
similar institutions, or in another culture, these outcomes may be seen
as positive outcomes.
Batch living, for example, describes the conditions of living, the
activities and the attitudes of the management and staff towards the
Batch living is used to describe negatively valued outcomes:
The members are separated into groups
The members of the subservient groups are all treated the same - as a
group (group living, group activities etc.), rather than as individuals
(no personal choice, no variety etc.) by the authoritarian group. "It is characterised by a
bureaucratic form of management .... 24 hours a day without variety or
1961 : 5-6, in, K. Joans & A.J. Fowles : P.71
Within the wider community, we see these same outcomes, and although
may be less extreme, they are still there in all forms. Sometimes these
outcomes, described as batch living, are a necessary part of the
activity and the setting and are positively valued in providing
positive outcomes for its members. A package tour, for example, the
members are all living together and participating in the same
activities. They are restricted in what they can and can't do, they
have a set timetable that has to be followed, the service provider is
responsible for their welfare etc. The value that is placed on the
packaged tour is determined by the experiences of the members of the
tour. I'm sure you have read or heard about a tour where the members
were poorly treated, were placed in lousy accommodation, left on a ship
or in a hotel for the whole time (these things have happened) etc.
Boarding schools, the
army, a prison are other examples of batch living.
We also see these outcomes (in varying degrees) in living, recreation,
employment and education services that support disadvantaged people in
the community. Does this mean that we need to remove all organisations,
groups or services that support disadvantaged people?
NO! There will always be a need for institutions and institutionalised
care in the community.
Goffman states that no
institution is all open or all closed. That they all share similar
An institution is either positively
negatively valued, according to the values
of the community or society that the institution is a part of.
It is the
total value of the outcomes of the institution that determine whether
positively or negatively valued, rather than the characteristics of
The value of these outcomes are determined by the values of the
community and it's members.
At school, for example, the students may negatively value school; they
have to study, do homework, are not allowed to do what they want, are
expected to be at a certain place at a certain time, are put on report
if they don't do what they are told, can not go out at night during the
week, have to wear a uniform, respect the teachers, have to participate
in activities that they don't like (they may also be bullied and
victimised) etc. etc. etc., while the parents and the wider community
positively values the school in that the students develop knowledge,
learn life skills, social skills etc. towards being productive members
of the community.
In a religious convent, for example, the institutions may be positively
valued and provide positive outcomes in one community, while the same
institutions may be negatively valued and have negative outcomes in
another community. Prisons may have a positive outcome for some, and
have a negative outcome for others. Nursing homes can also have a
positive outcome where the institutions of the nursing home provide
positive outcomes for the residents (SRV).
From the above it can be seen that the values (high order, middle order
or low order) of the community and the person determine whether the
values of the institution are positive or negative. Do we, as a
community, value liberty or security as a high order value? Do
we value order and structure, or
freedom and individuality,
as a high order value
we value the sanctity of human life as a high order or a low order
a physical life, or a
spiritual life as a high order value
? Do we
value individual wealth, or shared wealth, as a high order value? Do
we believe that all people should be treated equally, but
some more than others?
Institutions and institutionalisation can then be seen to have two
1) the community definition is
concerned with normal community
activities such as education, religion, the legal system, or any body
of knowledge or behavior that is a part of the community and is
organised within a set of formal and informal
values, roles, expectations and
behaviours. They can be positive, where
the members benefit from these institutions (positively valued
outcomes), or negative, where the members are disadvantaged by these
institutions (negatively valued
2) within the human services (social definition), the terms
institutionalisation have been used to describe the conditions that
people with an intellectual disability lived in, in
society. These are
usually negatively valued
While the term
Institutionalisation can be seen to have
two definitions, they are describing the same things.
Community definition: the model of care is positively valued.
Social definition: the model of care is negatively valued.
is widely used in social theory
denote the process of making something (for example a concept, a social
role, particular values and norms, or modes of behavior) become
embedded within an organization, social system, or society as an
established custom or norm within that system. See the entries on structure and agency and social construction for theoretical
perspectives on the process of institutionalisation and the associated
construction of institutions.
also be used to refer to the committing by a society of an individual
to a particular institution such as a mental institution. The term
institutionalisation is therefore sometimes used as a term to describe
both the treatment of, and damage caused to, vulnerable human beings by
the oppressive or corrupt application of inflexible systems of social,
medical, or legal controls by publicly owned, private or not-for-profit
organisations or to describe the process of becoming accustomed to life
in an institution so that it is difficult to resume normal life after
The above shows that the term "institutionalisation" both
describes the 1) process, and 2) the outcomes of the process that are
valued by a person.
Types of institutions:
The local museum (The
Museum's Community Role
) is an example of an institution in the
community, and how the institution relates to the community.
While museum's are not disability service providers, they share some
... Provide a service to the community
... Rely on government and community
deinstitutionalisation, what's the difference:
Deinstitutionalisation has been describe as ... "the process of
re-establishing people with disability in a community
through community based services, where they have greater control over
their lives and have positively valued relationships within society".
Another way to describe the process is ... "the relocation of people
that are supported by an organisation or service into another setting,
where they have a greater opportunity to experience the same activities
as others within that setting".
In the above descriptions, the person still uses the support
systems that are provided by an organisation or service, or within the
disability arena. Issues of
funding, responsibility, accountability, staffing and personal care,
transport and medical are the responsibility of the organisation or
service. The values, behaviours and expectations (institutions) of the
organisation or service provide the institutions of the support used in
supporting the person. The goal is to facilitate the develpoment of
valued relationships and
networks within a community
person is valued as a part of that
When moving to another setting, the particular institutions of the
setting may become more inportant than the institutions of the
organisation or service that provides the service.
Any setting where
people live, work or play has its own particular institutions. They
Think of any activity you are involved
Think of the various institutions that may be involved with the
What are the various outcomes that may be associated with the
To deinstitutionalise can then be then
thought of as a process of consciously or unconsciously adapting or
modifying a person or people, their values, behaviours, the social
structure, and the environment in which they participate. What is
actually happening is a process of reinstitutionalisation, where, the
outcomes change from negatively valued to potisively valued. While
institutionalisation is often referred to the situation of people with
disability (especially people with a mental condition), it is
certainly not limited to this group.
Any person or group of people
become institutionalised to a greater or lesser degree by the community,
organisation, culture or ethnic group of which they are a part of.
When moving from one community to another, we take on the values,
behaviours, responsibilities and expectations (institutions) according
to our particular role within the new
community. A father in one
community may be a teacher, or a student in another.
The concept of
Deinstitutionalisation and Social Role Valorisation:
Social roles are how we see ourselves and others in society. They are
often about a particular characteristic (age, gender, race, ethnicity,
culture, occupation, disability or even ability) rather than the
person. A Muslim, for example, is often treated different because of
his/her religion and culture. If the Muslim also had a particular
disability or disadvantage, that person would have less chance of
becoming a valued member in society. The same can be said for an
aboriginal, a bikie or drugie, or possibily even a bank manager or used
Social Role Valorisation (SRV) uses the concept of roles in the
Implicit sense in that roles are used to generalise the values,
behaviours and expectations (the institutions) that define the person
or people, within a particular group, activity and setting, as a normal
part of society. While this generalisation is true in the most part, I
think that it is unwise to assume that the institutions of all
activities and settings share the same roles.
For example, Wolfensberger describes in his paper "The
Origin and Nature of Our Institutional Models
" the buildings that
devalued people were institutionalised in. They are characterised by
the values, behaviours and expectations within the building. Rather
than being institutionalised in these buildings, they were placed in
these buildings because there was nowhere else. Because of a lack of
skills and resources in the community they were assigned a devalued
status. Once this transition happened, it became a normal part of
community life (normalised in the community) in a sense that "these
people are devalued lets lock them up". The outcome was that people who
can not look after themselves, and need a structured life, were placed
in large buildings that could provide their basic needs i.e.: they were
If I showed you a photo of a building, chances are that you would not
know what its role was unless you knew what happened inside the
building. In our community, we see all sorts of activities that are
carried out in buildings of a similar design that have similar
institutions (universities, hospitals, hotels, office buildings,
factories etc). We also see examples of people being assigned a
devalued status outside these buildings in communities.
Wolfensberger uses imagery (Semiotics- Signs and Symbols, Image
Juxtaposition, Image Transference etc) with great effect so that the
reader has an idea of what it may have been like to live in one of
those facilities as well as society in general, and how he/she can
avoid the same thing in the future. Maybe he has done his work to well,
in as much as the points that he is trying to make and concepts he is
trying to explain have been absorbed into almost every corner of our
culture with gay abandon.
Just because a person has a valued role and is living in a home by
himself or with others does not mean that his life is any less
institutionalised (in the context of SRV) than he would be when living
with 20 or even 200 others.
Whether the person with a disability is institutionalised (in the
context of SRV) would depend
... the model of care
... the amount of support the person has
... amount of restrictions the person has
... the setting of activities
... the structure of activities
... the person's relationships with others
... the formal/informal cultures,
the behaviours and expectations (institutions) of the administration
of the service provider.
When moving from one community (living, recreation, employment or
education) to another, for example, we take on the policies and
practices, cultures, behaviours, rules and regulations - the normal
rhythms - of the community. We have to fit into the particular
institutions of the community that we are joining.
Sometimes when the goal is the de-institutionalise a person, all we end
up doing is re-institutionalising the person.
By changing the cultures, values, policies,
the behaviours and expectations of the community, where people with
high support needs have a better quality of life, we change the
institutions of the community.
Re-institutionalise then, is to bring about,
or normalise, a behaviour, activity or policy that supports
people within a setting, where that behaviour, activity or policy
part of the setting (institutionalised).
|"The authors discuss what can be learned
from our experience with deinstitutionalization. The
deinstitutionalization of mentally ill persons has three components:
the release of these individuals from hospitals into the community,
their diversion from hospital admission, and the development of
alternative community services. The greatest problems have been in
creating adequate and accessible community resources. Where community
services have been available and comprehensive, most persons with
severe mental illness have significantly benefited. On the other hand,
there have been unintended consequences of deinstitutionalization—a new
generation of uninstitutionalized persons who have severe mental
illness, who are homeless, or who have been criminalized and who
present significant challenges to service systems. Among the lessons
learned from deinstitutionalization are that successful
deinstitutionalization involves more than simply changing the locus of
care; that service planning must be tailored to the needs of each
individual; that hospital care must be available for those who need it;
that services must be culturally relevant; that severely mentally ill
persons must be involved in their service planning; that service
systems must not be restricted by preconceived ideology; and that
continuity of care must be achieved."
Perspectives on Deinstitutionalization
When providing the most appropriate
care for people with high support
1) The community is not where the
person is living, but where the
person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships
2) People with high support needs (severe disability, aged etc.)
will always need support structures as a part of their lives.
3) The amount of participation in a community (living, education,
employment or recreation) is directly related to the skills and
resources of the person, and, the skills and resources of the
community that the person wishes to participate in.
4) Institutions are going to be around in one form or another
whether we like it or not, It is the way that they are used that is the
5) The institutions of a society towards a particular group
determine the way the group participates in society.
6) The institutions of a particular government department,
profession or service define the way the person is supported within
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not
need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the
that they are today, but can become warm inviting community places that
offer a range of services to the community, as well as be a part of the
wider community within that society.
8) People with high support needs are a minority group in our
society, and will have the same problems as other minority groups in
being a part of society.