Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy

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A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.

Weberian bureaucracy



The Weberian bureaucracy has its origin in the works by Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 (1864-1920), who was a notable German sociologist, political economist and administrative scholar, who had contributed immensely to the study of bureaucracy and administrative discourses and literatures, during the mid 1800s and early 1900s. Max Weber belongs to the Scientific School of Thought
Scientific management
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management...

, who among others, discussed intensely on subject-matters, such as, specialization of job-scope
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

, merit system
Meritocracy
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or...

, uniform principles, structure
Organizational structure
An organizational structure consists of activities such as task allocation, coordination and supervision, which are directed towards the achievement of organizational aims. It can also be considered as the viewing glass or perspective through which individuals see their organization and its...

 and hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

, to name a few. Among the scholars of his contemporaries are, Frederick Taylor (1856-1915), Henri Fayol
Henri Fayol
Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer and director of mines who developed a general theory of business administration. He and his colleagues developed this theory independently of scientific management but roughly contemporaneously...

 (1841-1925), Elton Mayo
Elton Mayo
George Elton Mayo was an Australian psychologist, sociologist and organization theorist.He lectured at the University of Queensland from 1911 to 1923 before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, but spent most of his career at Harvard Business School , where he was professor of industrial...

 (1880-1949), and later scholars, such as, Herbert Simon
Herbert Simon
Herbert Alexander Simon was an American political scientist, economist, sociologist, and psychologist, and professor—most notably at Carnegie Mellon University—whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, computer science, public administration, economics,...

 (1916-2001), Dwight Waldo
Dwight Waldo
Dwight Waldo was an American political scientist and is perhaps the defining figure in modern public administration. Waldo's career was often directed against a scientific/technical portrayal of bureaucracy and government that now suggests the term public management as opposed to public...

 (1913-2000), and others.
Weber described many ideal types of public administration
Public administration
Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

 and government in his magnum opus
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

(1922). His critical study of the bureaucratisation of society became one of the most enduring parts of his work. It was Weber who began the studies of bureaucracy and whose works led to the popularization of this term. Many aspects of modern public administration go back to him, and a classic, hierarchically organized civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 of the Continental type is called "Weberian civil service". As the most efficient and rational way of organizing, bureaucratization for Weber was the key part of the rational-legal authority, and furthermore, he saw it as the key process in the ongoing rationalization of the Western society.

Weber listed several precondititions for the emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

 of the bureaucracy. The growth in space and population being administered and the growth in complexity of the administrative tasks being carried out and the existence of a monetary economy resulted in a need for a more efficient administrative system. Development of communication and transportation technologies made more efficient administration possible but also in popular demand, and democratization
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

 and rationalization of culture resulted in demands that the new system treats everybody equally
Equality
Equality may refer to:Social concepts* Egalitarianism, the belief that all/some people ought to be treated equally* Equality before the law* Equal opportunity* Equality of outcome or equality of condition* Gender equality* Racial equality...

.

Weber's ideal bureaucracy is characterized by hierarchical organization, delineated lines of authority in a fixed area of activity, action taken on the basis of and recorded in written rules, bureaucratic officials need expert training, rules are implemented by neutral officials, career advancement depends on technical qualifications judged by organization, not individuals.
While recognizing bureaucracy as the most efficient form of organization, and even indispensable for the modern state, Weber also saw it as a threat to individual freedoms, and the ongoing bureaucratization as leading to a "polar night of icy darkness", in which increasing rationalization of human life traps individuals in the aforementioned "iron cage
Iron cage
Iron cage, a sociological concept introduced by Max Weber, refers to the increased rationalization inherent in social life, particularly in Western capitalist societies. The "iron cage" thus traps individuals in systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control...

" of bureaucratic, rule-based, rational control. In order to counteract bureaucrats, the system needs entrepreneurs and politicians.

See also



  • Bureaucrat
    Bureaucrat
    A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can comprise the administration of any organization of any size, though the term usually connotes someone within an institution of a government or corporation...

  • Michel Crozier
    Michel Crozier
    Michel Crozier is a French sociologist and member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques since 1999. He is also an officer of the Légion d'honneur and a commander of the Ordre National du Mérite, as well as a laureate of the Prix Tocqueville.Michel Crozier didn't become a sociologist...

  • Public administration
    Public administration
    Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

  • Rationalization
    Rationalization
    Rationalization may refer to:*Rationalization , the means of transition from a traditional society into a rationalized one*Rationalization , the process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process*Rationalization , an...

  • State (polity)
    State (polity)
    A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

  • Max Weber
    Max Weber
    Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...


Further reading

  • Albrow, Martin. Bureaucracy. London: Macmillan, 1970.
  • On Karl Marx: Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Volume 1: State and Bureaucracy. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979.
  • Marx comments on the state bureaucracy in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right and Engels discusses the origins of the state in Origins of the Family.
  • Ernest Mandel, Power and Money: A Marxist Theory of Bureaucracy. London: Verso, 1992.
  • On Weber:
  • Neil Garston (ed.), Bureaucracy: Three Paradigms. Boston: Kluwer, 1993.
  • Chowdhury, Faizul Latif (2006), Corrupt Bureaucracy and Privatization of Tax Enforcement. Dhaka: Pathak Samabesh, ISBN 984-8120-62-9.
  • Weber, Max. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Translated by A.M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons. London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1947.