In the trial to understand the complexity of the functioning of the contemporary school as a social and educational institution, one may refer to numerous theoretical explanations describing its substance and operations. In the second half of the 20th century, there arise new concepts, referring in their assumptions to the paradigm of the so called evolutionary economy, as a result of the critique of the institutional way of explaining the operation of the man and whole social groups. The paradigm assumes the dichotomic division of the human world into: the world of social ceremonies (institutions, believes, values) and the world of technology (tools, qualifications). The contemporary institutionalism, referred to as new institutionalism in the bibliography, continues to develop on this basis. The new institutionalism draws its attention to the process of creation and prevalence of determined institutions, and indicates the specificity of the dynamics and the importance of changes they are undergoing. The representatives of the trend revise the previous sense and the general need for the existence of determined social institutions. They emphasise that some of the institutions have lost their essence during their development and the character of the subsequent changes is excessively frequently too superficial. Pedagogues are becoming more and more interested in the theory. The bibliography of the field describes first trials of applying the theory as a theoretical basis for the research on school functioning.