The Disadvantaged Childhood’s Asylum of Horta/O Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta
This book is composed of some studies centered on Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta, located in the city of Horta, on Faial Island, in The Azores, Portugal, was established on December 28, 1858 – the festivity day of the Innocent Saints in the Catholic Church – with the mission of helping girls in situations of extreme poverty or abandoned. This organisation in a communal residence consisted of a collective shelter for unprotected children and young girls.
In this work the author explores: the founder’s role in establishing an organisation, the centrality of the formal rules in an educational Institution, the celebrations and language on the image of Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta, and the educational role influence of a religious group in the culture of this organisation. It is verified that this organisation has experienced re-configurations, occasionally, in a non-linear mode, for which contributed, throughout the time, either the contacts established with the exterior, on three levels: in the search for resources, in the attempt to (re)legitimize the purposes and activities developed there, and also the influences exerted on the members of the organisation, all in different social contexts, or even, within the contacts of the organisation between the individual and the collective actors.
In a short presentation of this chapters’ book, each of which can be read independently, using the abstracts of this selection of articles, Chapter 1, “Autonomy in Leadership: A Case Study of the Founder’s Role in Establishing an Organisation”, analyses the extent of a leader’s autonomy in establishing organisational culture, a complex issue in organisational studies. This chapter analyses the actions of the founding leader of Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta from 1858 to 1879, to determine the extent of his autonomy during his administration. This analysis used documents of the organisation’s archives, local newspaper articles of the period and papers on this topic. The results revealed that the leader’s actions did not occur in isolation but were influenced by the sociohistorical environment. Establishing legitimacy as a leader was a complex, multidimensional process that required consideration of the social, legal, regulatory, political and religious aspects of his actions. Although this chapter portrays a research study based on a case study, the findings suggest that autonomy based on legitimacy is a key element contributing to the founder’s success.
Chapter 2, “The Mobilisation of the Formal Normative Rules in an Educational Institution: A Sociological Study in Portugal” addresses the formal dimension that can greatly condition the operation of an organisation. This chapter aims to study the mobilisation of organisations’ formal structures within educational institutions. To achieve this goal, this
chapter analyses the situations between 1858 and 1913, in which the bylaws and/or regulations of Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta are explicitly noted with different chairmen and administrations through documents found in the organisation’s archives. The results allow concluding that these formal instruments are mobilised not only by the chairman and the administration but also by the governance, whether to justify the asylum’s operation, legitimise decisions already made or mention the importance of these formal official normative guidelines. As a result, this formal dimension is of the utmost importance, not only as a potential guiding framework but also for legitimising action, even though it does not necessarily reflect the operations of an organisation.
Chapter 3, “Celebrations and Language on the Image of Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta, Portugal, 1858-1910”, discusses the role of celebrations and language mobilised to the exterior in the educational context of Asilo de Infância Desvalida da Horta, in an interpretative diachronic analysis, from 1858 to 1910. The study was accomplished by consulting the archives of this organisation and local newspapers. The analysis of the documentation consulted allows concluding that the celebrations and the language used in the organisation can play an important role in nurturing its positive external image, which may prove crucial to its survival and continuity.
Finally, in Chapter 4, “The educational role of Irmãs Franciscanas Hospitaleiras da Imaculada Concepção [Hospitaller Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception] in Casa de Infância de Santo António [Santo António Childhood House] – Horta”, approaches the educational role of Irmãs Franciscanas Hospitaleiras da Imaculada Concepção in Casa de
Infância de Santo António and their influence in the culture of this organisation. To this end, an analysis was carried out to the documents existing in the archive of the institution and local newspapers. Results point towards the conclusion that, in its educational dimension, the existence of a structured and cohesive group, with its own culture clearly assumed in
an organisation, may have contributed to the existence of a differentiated organisational culture, albeit functioning, usually, as subculture of the dominant culture fostered by the institution’s Board of Directors.