The authors posit that the combination of evolving social institutions explains the non-linear character of social evolution and that every society develops along its own pathway and pace. Within this framework, society should be seen as the result of the compound effect of the interactions of social institutions specific to it. Further, the transformation of social institutions and relations between them is taking place not only within individual societies but also globally, as institutions may be trans-societal, and even institutions that operate in one society can arise as a reaction to trans-societal trends and demands.
The book argues that it may be more productive to look at institutions even within a given society as being parts of trans-societal systems of institutions since, despite their interconnectedness, societies still have boundaries, which their members usually know and respect. Accordingly, the book is a must-read for researchers and scholars in various disciplines who are interested in a better understanding of the origins, history, successes and failures of social institutions.