Last Updated 27 Mar 2020

Max Weber’s Bureaucracy

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In his article entitled “Bureaucracy”, Max Weber considers the structure of offices and management of organizations both public and private. He tries to construct a stereotype of these organizations through the use of a set of characteristics that he deems should be possessed by such groups. Furthermore, he also ventures his discussion into the characteristics of a bureaucratic official. The official to be thought of as bureaucratic thus should qualify these set of characteristics.

A person possessing such characteristics is then judged as qualified and appropriate in office. However, if dispossessed of these characteristics, he is not fit for such positions in office. In expressing these ideas and concepts of bureaucracy, Max Weber attempts to impart the significance of office management in organizations. Therefore organizations, if not adopt Weber’s principles, should create their own set of attributes for each office in their circle to make the organization function well. Weber introduces six important characteristics of a functional bureaucracy.

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First, he requires that organizations have a fixed set of rules for each governing area or portion of the organization (cited in Shafritz, 2005). Each organization should have different sections with a permanent and defined scope of governance and duties. Second, there exists in the organization a certain hierarchy of officials wherein subordinated officials are supervised by higher officials although supervising persons have no absolute power on subordinate officials. Third, the organization should have documentation of its progress and activities through written files.

Fourth, officials should have a valid and qualified training to be appropriate for each office. Fifth, although the official has a limited tenure, he is expected to give his best and complete effort for the organization. Last, the set of rules and regulations could be learned by all officials (cited in Shafritz, 2005). Besides these characteristics, Weber also proposes that upon abiding all these characteristics, the position of an official becomes a vocation and that it possesses certain duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges including social security (cited in Shafritz, 2005).

The concepts imparted by Weber are of great importance especially to organizational management. Through these characteristics introduced by Weber, the individual seeking to construct an organization could model a practical structure of governance and management. Furthermore, it is also helpful to people who wants to restructure the framework of their organization. It is interesting to note that the author explains his thoughts in a very effective and comprehensive technique through the use of comparison.

He compares his image of a bureaucratic organization with those organizations of ancient history including patrimonialism (cited in Shafritz, 2005). Through this effort, the author convincingly illustrates the advantages of bureaucracy without even explicitly stating them. As a whole, the concept of bureaucracy was very impressive since it offers an efficient structure of organizational management. Furthermore, Weber’s explanation of principles both in public office and private economic organizations makes it more even appealing.

Nevertheless, readers would also sense an ideal concept of bureaucracy that eventually will make them wonder if such ideal principles are actually realistic in nature. Yet again, in real world organizations, these principles are useful and applicable; applicable in a sense that, bureaucratic organizations should really have a set of rules and duties as well as rights and privileges for officials. Weber’s bureaucracy is a typical yet practical structural model of bureaucratic organizations.

Its significance lies in its extensive application for budding organizations and reformation of existing organizations. In the real world, useful tips such as these should be taken into account in creating positions in office. By doing so, the organization becomes more systematized and effective. Thus, generating a clear set of goals and a straightforward means of achieving these goals which is what an organization is all about. Reference Shafritz, J. Ott, J. S. & Jang, Y. S. (2005). Organization Theory. 6th Ed. USA: Cengage Learning.

Max Weber’s Bureaucracy essay

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