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This article explains the bureaucratic theory of the management principles by Max Weber in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of bureaucratic management and you can use this as a powerful management tool. At the end of the 19th century, it was German sociologist and author of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism , Max Weber who was the first to use and describe the term bureaucracy. This is also known as the bureaucratic theory of management , bureaucratic management theory or the Max Weber theory. He believed bureaucracy was the most efficient way to set up an organisation, administration and organizations.
Bureaucracy , specific form of organization defined by complexity, division of labour, permanence, professional management, hierarchical coordination and control, strict chain of command, and legal authority. It is distinguished from informal and collegial organizations. In its ideal form, bureaucracy is impersonal and rational and based on rules rather than ties of kinship, friendship, or patrimonial or charismatic authority.
Bureaucratic organization can be found in both public and private institutions. The foremost theorist of bureaucracy is the German sociologist Max Weber — , who described the ideal characteristics of bureaucracies and offered an explanation for the historical emergence of bureaucratic institutions. According to Weber, the defining features of bureaucracy sharply distinguish it from other types of organization based on nonlegal forms of authority. Weber observed that the advantage of bureaucracy was that it was the most technically proficient form of organization, possessing specialized expertise, certainty, continuity , and unity.
Instrumental organizations e. Contemporary stereotypes of bureaucracy tend to portray it as unresponsive, lethargic , undemocratic, and incompetent.
In the pure form of bureaucratic organization universalized rules and procedures would dominate, rendering personal status or connections irrelevant. In this form, bureaucracy is the epitome of universalized standards under which similar cases are treated similarly as codified by law and rules, and under which the individual tastes and discretion of the administrator are constrained by due process rules.
Despite the widespread derogatory stereotypes of bureaucracy, a system of government grounded in law requires bureaucracy to function. Nevertheless, the words bureaucracy and bureaucrat are typically thought of and used pejoratively. They convey images of red tape, excessive rules and regulations, unimaginativeness, a lack of individual discretion, central control, and an absence of accountability.
Far from being conceived as proficient, popular contemporary portrayals often paint bureaucracies as inefficient and lacking in adaptability. Because the characteristics that define the organizational advantages of bureaucracy also contain within them the possibilities of organizational dysfunction, both the flattering and unflattering depictions of bureaucracy can be accurate.
Thus, the characteristics that make bureaucracies proficient paradoxically also may produce organizational pathologies. Jurisdictional competency is a key element of bureaucratic organization, which is broken into units with defined responsibilities. Fundamentally, jurisdictional competency refers to bureaucratic specialization, with all elements of a bureaucracy possessing a defined role. The responsibilities of individuals broaden with movement upward through an organizational hierarchy.
The organizational division of labour enables units and individuals within an organization to master details and skills and to turn the novel into the routine. This feature of bureaucracy also can lead organizational units to shirk responsibility by allowing them to define a problem as belonging to some other unit and thereby leave the issue unattended. Alternatively, every unit within an organization is apt to put a face on a problem congenial mainly to its own interests, skills, and technologies.
Bureaucracies have clear lines of command and control. Bureaucratic authority is organized hierarchically, with responsibility taken at the top and delegated with decreasing discretion below. Because of the risk of organizational parochialism produced by limited and specific jurisdictional competencies , the capacity to coordinate and control the multiplicity of units is essential.
Authority is the glue that holds together diversity and prevents units from exercising unchecked discretion. Yet, few features of bureaucratic life have received so much adverse attention as the role of hierarchical authority as a means for achieving organizational command and control.
Popular criticisms emphasize that hierarchical organization strangles creative impulses and injects hyper-cautious modes of behaviour based on expectations of what superiors may desire. Command and control, which are necessary to coordinate the disparate elements of bureaucratic organization, provide for increasing responsibility upward, delegation, and decreasing discretion downward. Continuity is another key element of bureaucratic organization.
Rational-legal authority necessitates uniform rules and procedures for written documents and official behaviour. The ability to utilize standard operating procedures makes organizations more efficient by decreasing the costs attached to any given transaction.
Organizational files record procedures, antecedent behaviour, and personnel records. They also allow an organization to be continuous and, thus, independent of any specific leadership. Without its records, it would be impossible to maintain transactions grounded in legality. Yet continuity also has a dysfunctional side, leading organizations to behave predictably and conservatively or, worse perhaps, merely reflexively.
Continuity also may lead a bureaucracy to repeat regularly activities that may be inaccurate and whose inaccuracies thereby cumulate. Professionalization of management , another basic element of bureaucracy, requires a full-time corps of officials whose attention is devoted exclusively to its managerial responsibilities.
In government, professionalization is vested in the corps of civil servants whose positions have generally been obtained through the passage of tests based upon merit. The civil service is sometimes considered a permanent government, distinct from the transient politicians who serve only for a limited time and at the pleasure of the electorate in democratic political systems. In businesses and in other nongovernmental bureaucratic organizations, there is also a professional cadre of managers.
Professionalization increases expertise and continuity within the organization. Even when organizations are temporarily leaderless or experience turmoil in their top leadership positions, the professional cadre helps to maintain an organizational equilibrium.
The virtues of professionalization are clear: without a professional corps, organizations would suffer from crises induced by incompetency.
Professionalization thus contributes to the superior technical proficiency that Weber claimed was the hallmark of bureaucratic organization.
Despite its virtues, professionalization also carries potential risks. Often the professional corps of managerial experts itself becomes a covert source of power because it has superior knowledge compared with those who are its nominal but temporary superiors.
By virtue of greater experience, mastery of detail, and organizational and substantive knowledge, professional bureaucrats may exercise strong influence over decisions made by their leaders. The existence of powerful bureaucrats raises issues of accountability and responsibility, particularly in democratic systems; bureaucrats are supposedly the agents of their leaders, but their superior knowledge of detail can place them in a position of indispensability.
In addition, although a permanent corps of officials brings expertise and mastery of detail to decision making , it also deepens the innate conservatism of a bureaucracy. The permanent corps is usually skeptical of novelty because the essence of bureaucratic organization is to turn past novelties into present routines. Professional bureaucrats, be they in the civil or private sector, also tend to favour the organizational status quo because their investments e.
Consequently, the more professionalized the cadre becomes, the more likely it is to resist the intrusion of external forces. Rules are the lifeblood of bureaucratic organization, providing a rational and continuous basis for procedures and operations. Bureaucratic decisions and—above all—procedures are grounded in codified rules and precedents. Although most people dislike rules that inhibit them, the existence of rules is characteristic of legal-rational authority, ensuring that decisions are not arbitrary, that standardized procedures are not readily circumvented , and that order is maintained.
Rules are the essence of bureaucracy but are also the bane of leaders who want to get things done their way instantly. Rules restrain arbitrary behaviour, but they also can provide formidable roadblocks to achievement. The accumulation of rules sometimes leads to the development of inconsistencies, and the procedures required to change any element of the status quo may become extraordinarily onerous as a result of the rule-driven character of bureaucracy.
One perspective holds that the strict adherence to rules restricts the ability of a bureaucracy to adapt to new circumstances. By contrast, markets , which can operate with very few rules, force rapid adaptation to changing circumstances. Yet, most major business organizations are arranged in bureaucratic form because hierarchy and delegated responsibility reduce the transaction costs of making decisions. Thus, the most basic elements of pure bureaucratic organization are its emphasis on procedural regularity, a hierarchical system of accountability and responsibility, specialization of function, continuity, a legal-rational basis, and fundamental conservatism.
The emergence of capitalism and the emphasis on standard currency transactions over and above barter systems created the need for bureaucratic forms of organization in both the private and public sectors. However, the critical elements of the bureaucratic form of organization also can conflict with one another and are often at the base of criticisms that regard bureaucracies as dysfunctional.
In sum, what makes bureaucracy work also may work against it. Bureaucracy Article Media Additional Info. Article Contents. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites.
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See Article History. Characteristics and paradoxes of bureaucracy The foremost theorist of bureaucracy is the German sociologist Max Weber — , who described the ideal characteristics of bureaucracies and offered an explanation for the historical emergence of bureaucratic institutions.
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Bureaucracy , specific form of organization defined by complexity, division of labour, permanence, professional management, hierarchical coordination and control, strict chain of command, and legal authority. It is distinguished from informal and collegial organizations. In its ideal form, bureaucracy is impersonal and rational and based on rules rather than ties of kinship, friendship, or patrimonial or charismatic authority. Bureaucratic organization can be found in both public and private institutions. The foremost theorist of bureaucracy is the German sociologist Max Weber — , who described the ideal characteristics of bureaucracies and offered an explanation for the historical emergence of bureaucratic institutions.
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more. Max Weber was a German sociologist who argued bureaucracy was the most efficient and rational model private businesses and public offices could operate in. His bureaucratic theories influenced generations of business leaders and politicians well into the 20th century. While Weber's theory prioritizes efficiency, it isn't necessarily the best practice for leaders to implement. Weber was unlike most workplace leaders today. His theory of management, also called the bureaucratic theory, stressed strict rules and a firm distribution of power.
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more. Max Weber was a German sociologist who argued bureaucracy was the most efficient and rational model private businesses and public offices could operate in. His bureaucratic theories influenced generations of business leaders and politicians well into the 20th century. While Weber's theory prioritizes efficiency, it isn't necessarily the best practice for leaders to implement.
States the use of the word bureaucracy is greeted with much disparaging comment, with Max Weber held up as the father of the movement although he saw its limitations. Highlights a Table giving benefits of bureaucracy compared with traditional organizations. Argues the integration of rationality into organizations has its costs.
Max Weber, a German social scientist, analyzed the formation and administration of enterprises. The main features of this approach are as follows:. Division of Work: There is division of work on basis of specialization of jobs in bureaucratic organizations. Each employee performs his specialized work in a predictable manner.
Шеф службы обеспечения систем безопасности спустился с подиума подобно грозовой туче, сползающей с горы, и окинул взглядом свою бригаду программистов, отдающих какие-то распоряжения. - Начинаем отключение резервного питания. Приготовиться.
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Панк брезгливо ее пожал.
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