Association vs Institution
The words association and institution are so commonplace that we hardly pay attention to them. There are some who feel that these are synonyms to be used interchangeably, though it is not the case. Despite many similarities, there are many differences between associations and institutions that shall be discussed in this article.
To start with, the word institution should not be considered as a synonym for institute, though there are similarities. For example, there are Institutes of technology that are educational institutes imparting higher education in engineering. They are regarded as institutions in themselves as they have been inspirational to many entrepreneurs in setting up other educational institutes of the same kind. Thus, we have institutes that are set us for specific purposes such as education, religion (such as a church), business (such as a company). Most of the colleges are organizations that can be referred to as institutions.
However, there is another prominent use of institution to refer to the established customs and traditions. Even relationships and laws are institutions in themselves. It is common to refer to marriage as an institution created by our forefathers to help develop community and society. Democracy is another instance of an institution that is developed over a period of time. Thus, we have democratic institutions like parliament and courts. Even military in democratic countries is described as an institution with set traditions and customs.
Association is a word that describes an act of coming together of people with a goal or aim in mind. It is also used to refer to organizations that are formed through a collection of people with a common interest. In this sense, a club, a sporting body, a group of friends or even governments, alliances, and even fellowships can be described as associations. So, whether it is a trade association or an association of alumni of an institute, all associations refer to an organized body with people having a common interest.
What’s the difference between Association and Institution?
• Institutions are traditions and customs that are followed for generations, whereas associations are made up of people with common interest or goal.
• Associations are concrete (mostly), whereas institutions are abstract (such as democracy, marriage etc).
• Associations are creations of necessity, and get formed whenever there is a need. On the other hand, institutions get evolved, and are time tested and trusted.
• Associations have an interest in mind whether religious or business, and last as long as this interest is served. On the other hand, institutions are more or less permanent.
• Associations are born out of institutions, but institutions never grow out of associations.