Resume of Max Weber’s Politics as a Vacation Essay
Max Weber, the author of the essay under consideration, admits that the ethos of politics should be considered as a cause and tries to explain what calling politics may fulfil “quite independently of its goals within the total ethical economy of human conduct – which is, so to speak, the ethical locus where politics is at home.” (Weber, 117) Weber does not want to concentrate on politics only in order to present a worth material to his reader.
He analyses ethics and tries to unite it to politics by means of their distinctive features. One of the means, which are inherent to politics, is violence. It is crucially important for power to be backed up by any kind of violence in order to control, to set the necessary rules, and be effective from different perspectives.
Revolutions and wars – this is what can provide the development of power through the whole world. People cannot present and prove their points of view without certain amount of violence. However, all those actions taken to win wars or revolutions should be analyzed from an ethical perspective. Only this way will help to achieve the necessary results properly, without extra sacrifices and even death.
Weber is eager to answer rather different questions in his essay: what differs the rule of the worker’s council from the rule of some other person, who holds power; why the wars, which lead to status quo, are needed; what are the reasons of the revolutions, people have to participate in; what the consequences of all those actions are, and what kind of future our next generation will get. These and many other questions are posed by Weber in his work.
To answer all these questions, Weber offers to take into consideration the standpoints of many people and decide what idea is more appropriate; to become fee from falsification that surrounds us; and to use real life examples as the best evidences. People need to hear and analyze lots of cases in order to be completely sure about the decision made. This is why the author wants to present several ways to persuade the reader and present various arguments in his text.
If he talks about politics in the work, it is possible that he considers men to be the vast majority of the readers. This is why the chosen by him example is good indeed. When a man prefer one woman to another, he does not want to find enough reasons to explain why; just simple phrases like she is not worth my love or something take place.
This is why legitimacy means nothing for men in such cases, and this change does not correspond to any ethical principle. So, in order to be ethically proper and not to be put under a threat, it is better to find several legitimate reasons and present them. If such evidences take place in politics, the chosen way will be approved.
In order to defend his thesis, Weber’s decides to evaluate several spheres of this life: religious, politic, economic, and even family relations. When the reader observes the situation that is more or less familiar to him/her, it turns out to be more interesting and educative to comprehend the material and take into consideration the hints given.
Politics is a thing that may take passion and perspective simultaneously. This is why human emotions and ethical norms should be analyzed to find the answer why and how politics is connected to ethics. And Weber presents a wonderful analysis, grounding on real life examples, personal experience, and already known facts.
Weber, Max. Politics as a Vacation. 2009. Web.
Max Weber: Explaining the Tragedy of 1978 Essay
Max Weber focused on major principles that governed human societies. He analysed theories concerning various phenomena which took place in human societies. Thus, he reconsidered Marx’s theory. However, his ideas concerning religion and the role of religion in humans’ life are quite exceptional. Weber’s theories can help to understand and, maybe, explain stimuli of people who lived in the notorious Jonestown. Weber’s ideas concerning domination and the Baptist Sects provide insights into the processes that led to the tragedy of 1978.
According to Max Weber people tend to organize (or be organized) into groups. It is necessary to point out that these groups do not interact on equal terms. This is where domination comes into place. Weber (1978) defined domination as “the probability that certain specific commands (or all commands) will be obeyed by a given group of persons” (p. 212). There are many factors that affect people and make them obey.
Weber (1978) pointed out three types of authority that made people obey: traditional authority, rational-legal authority and charismatic authority. This classification can be used to explain the phenomenon of Jonestown. Jim Jones became a charismatic leader and created a group of believers (Jonestown, 2006). Those people followed him as they believed in his “revelation, his heroism” and his personal qualities (Weber, 1978, p. 216).
However, it can be difficult to understand what made people believe in that (even charismatic) personality. Weber (1978) provided an answer to this question as well. The renowned sociologist suggested several reasons which could make people obey. One of these reasons is particularly important when considering the case of Jonestown. Weber (1978) stated that people could submit from their helplessness as there was no alternative for them.
This was precisely the case of people who left their homes to settle down in Jonestown (or just believe in Jim Jones). People found themselves in the hostile society where multinationals and corporations ruled the world, where racism and other forms of discrimination were still there (Jonestown, 2006). People longed for a new world where equality and peace ruled. Jim Jones promised them to build such a society.
Notably, Jim Jones did not simply create an ordinary organization; he created a religious organization based on major principles of Christianity. Admittedly, this was one of the main qualities of the organization that attracted so many people. Remarkably, some called the People Temple a cult, whereas some considered it to be a powerful formation that could change the world. Nowadays people see this religious organization as an example of the other side of religious beliefs.
Major Peculiarity of Some Religious Organizations
The fact that the Peoples Temple was a religious organization brings to the fore one more theory developed by Max Weber. Thus, he pointed out that
[a] strict avoidance of the world… were the results for the first Baptist communities, and this principle of avoidance of the world never quite disappeared so long as the old spirit remained alive. (Weber, 1930, n.p.)
In other words, Weber argued that numerous religious organizations (he used the word communities) were based on the principle of escape from the society they pertained to. The Peoples Temple was one of such organizations as people who joined it and followed Jim Jones did not feel safe in the contemporary society. They wanted to escape from various kinds of discrimination and they wanted to build a new better society (Jonestown, 2006).
Jim Jones gave people what they wanted. He portrayed a society where justice, equality and good ruled. He went further and called people to come with him to build a new place. Jones suggested a way to escape and many people followed. Thus, Weber’s theory turned out to be correct in one more case.
Ultimate Attempt to Escape
This theory is also manifested in the extreme way Jones’ followers chose. Weber (1930) noted that Baptist organizations largely relied upon the principle of salvation. Apart from mere avoidance of worldly life, many members of such organizations sought for salvation. Weber (1930) also stressed that those organizations were authoritarian.
In other words, leaders had a great power over members of their communities. Therefore, people were ready to follow their leader to the end. This was the case with Jonestown. More than 900 people obeyed and committed suicide as their leader claimed that they could not put up with the vicious world and had to leave it (Jonestown, 2006).
Legitimacy of Jones’ Organization
It goes without saying that such ideas sound like a kind of ideology. Some may say that Jones was trying to show the entire world that there was something wrong with it. However, if to take into account Weber’s theory it becomes clear that Jones pursued his own goals.
Weber (1978) claimed that the entire system is based on the idea of its legitimacy. When members of an organization do not obey, organization ceases to exist. Thus, organization can exist until there is authority and dominance. Basically, Jones’ organization was one of such examples.
The organization was a powerful entity at the beginning. People believed in their leader. Many people joined the organization as they saw a real way out. They obtained the necessary alternative to the hostile society. Nonetheless, soon people got disappointed in the organization and its leader. They started leaving the organization (Jonestown, 2006). This was the point when Jones understood that he was not the great authority anymore.
He understood that he would soon lose everything. People did not believe in the organization’s legitimacy. Jones found the way to prove he was an authority. It goes without saying that Jones’ way to regain dominance became a horrible tragedy. However, it is also necessary to note that the instance of Jonestown tragedy does prove Weber’s theory concerning dominance and authority. Jonestown is the example that an organization cannot exist without dominance.
On balance, it is possible to note that Weber’s theories on human society and religion are applicable in many cases. Thus, these theories can explain such events as Jonestown tragedy. Weber claimed that people were likely to form groups and societies which were governed by certain principles. According to Weber, one of the major principles of humans’ societies is dominance.
Thus, Jim Jones being a charismatic leader formed a religious organization which followed the basic principle of such kind of entities. The organization was based on principles of dominance, i.e. authority and individual desire to escape the hostile (worldly) society. It is important to note that the Peoples Temple should be regarded as an extreme as the leader of the organization used his authority to make people give their lives for some illusive objective.
Jonestown: The life and death of Peoples Temple. (2006). Web.
Weber, Max. (1930). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of Capitalism. Web.
Weber, Max. (1978). Economy and society: An outline of interpretive sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Max Weber’ and Clifford Geertz’ Views on Religion Essay
Max Weber and Geertz offered varying ideas regarding cultural theory. They both viewed culture as people’s ways of doing things in society. Culture is usually developed over years whereby it is adopted and passed from one generation to the other through language. Regarding religion, which is one of the aspects of culture, Geertz and Weber offered a number of views. Some viewpoints are similar while others are different.
However, the two scholars believe that religion happens within a group implying that it is a group affair. In this regard, various groups have different religious principles and beliefs. Morality is the main principle that all religious groups and teachings espouse. Even though the two scholars agreed that religion happens at an individual level, they offered varying approaches to the understanding of group behavior. Weber noted that each religion is rational and consistent as far as its rules are concerned.
Unlike his predecessors such as Durkheim, Weber claimed in his works, ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’ that religion could easily bring about change in society. His analysis was based on the spread of capitalism in Europe. He claimed that the Protestant abstemious self-confidence was attributed to the quick spread of capitalist ideals.
However, unlike Geertz, Weber did not intend to develop a cultural theory that would explain the dynamics of religion. His main aim was to discuss the interactions and interrelations between society and religion. On the other hand, Geertz perceived religion as a cultural system that is full of symbols, which have both public and social meaning.
People always construct their own beliefs meaning that each person has his or her own views concerning religion. Some groups have shared views regarding religion. Weber’s views were different from the ideas of Geertz because to him, religion had a different role to play in society. This article looks at some of the similarities and differences between the views of Weber and Geertz as regards to religion. The paper uses one aspect of culture to discuss their views.
Geertz undertook various studies in one of the villages in Javanese, which was one of the most complex religious societies. He sought to understand the reason that inspired people to worship the supernatural being in their daily lives. Other scholars had suggested a number of views regarding the topic, but he diverged from such views by noting that the issue of religion is not a group affair, but instead it is a social affair.
This implies that it happens within a particular society. Evans-Pritchard was one of the scholars who suggested that religion is simply a group attitude because it is developed to check the behavior of group members. Geertz rejected this subjective and vague view by adopting the ideas of Weber regarding the role of religion among the Protestants in Europe. Weber was of the view that religion is a phenomenon that starts at an individual level meaning that each person has his own belief.
These beliefs develop with time into complex ideas that are in turn adopted by a group of individuals in society. Once the belief is within the public domain, it turns out to be a social system that influences people’s behavior and interactions in the wider society. Since the behavior is learned and would be internalized for years, it becomes a cultural belief or a cultural system, given the fact that it can be transmitted from one individual to the other.
Weber had earlier noted that people are always in search of truth since a man is an animal that is suspended in webs of significance. In this regard, a man does not have to look for solutions on the Earth that would resolve the many issues facing him but, instead, he has to interpret society using some mystical principles. Offering simple explanations to religious beliefs is not enough implying that people should look for the real meaning of religious events.
To explain some of these religious events, clear interpretations should be given. Geertz was of the similar view because he noted that thick descriptions should be applied in interpreting religious events if adequate answers were to be provided. According to Geertz, the use of symbols in interpreting religious events is the only solution to the many problems affecting people as far as religious issues are concerned.
He noted that some symbols are always in use in religion. Therefore, the understanding of the use of these symbols is very important. Weber noted that the Protestants were able to engage in trade and other economic matters because their religion taught them that an individual’s destiny is always predetermined. Weber reached this decision after observing the behavior of Protestants for years.
He also used some of the symbols, which was the basis of Geertz’s analysis. Geertz suggested that an anthropologist should use empirical methods to interpret the behavior of a group or an individual as regards to religion. Weber had also suggested a similar view by noting that a sociologist should use technical methods such as guessing, assessing, and drawing conclusions as far as the understanding of religion is concerned.
Geertz and Weber believed in the semiotic interpretation of culture meaning that their major aim was to understand some of the factors that drive people to join certain cultures. In this regard, they both believed that the understanding of culture starts with the interpretation of certain elements and categorization of certain interactions. The whole system should be categorized into sub-subsystems if any substantial meaning is to be offered.
The system is characterized based on the major beliefs and principles meaning that there are various subsystems of culture in society. Each category of the subsystem has some of the principles that members respect so much. Geertz termed this aspect as a form of collective property. Geertz’s and Weber’s argument is that religion influences the actions of various group members because it is larger as compared to the actions of any individual in a group.
Even though the two scholars discussed extensively the issues surrounding religion, their aims were extremely different. While Geertz aimed at developing a cultural theory, Weber was simply trying to link religion to the behavior of individuals in society. For instance, Geertz noted that cultural theory is not its own master meaning that it relies on certain concepts just the way other theories do.
Therefore, the suggestion on thick description is meant to give anthropologists one of the ways in which cultural issues could be construed in society. For Weber, he was simply describing the influence that culture has on the economic behavior of certain groups in society. He utilized the Protestants to show that people are encouraged to do some things because of the influence of their culture. In one of the articles titled Deep Play, Geertz showed how thick description could be employed to comprehend the actions of certain groups.
While Weber viewed religion as an aspect of culture that has a great impact on the life of an individual in society, Geertz was of a different view because he believed that religion is a cultural system. This implies that no society can survive without religion. In his view, all symbols in any society signify the presence of religion. This system is constructed over time, which results in a powerful and pervasive motivation for individuals.
With time, people in any given society come to appreciate their culture and tend to believe that other cultures are inferior to theirs. The culture ensures that social order prevails in society because it regulates behavior. Weber was of the different view because he did not give a cultural function of religion but, instead, he only related it to the behavior of individuals in society. His major aim was to give the relationship between religion and society.
According to Geertz, religion is inseparable from culture because they are both systems of communication in any given society. However, Weber believed that the two concepts exist independently meaning that they are autonomous, but they influence each other. Geertz concluded his analysis by noting that a strong relationship between an individual’s worldview and morality exists.
Research Conducted by Weber and Tarba Report
The research paper selected and why it was selected
The research paper selected for review is Mergers and acquisitions process: the use of corporate culture analyses by Yaakov Weber and Shlomo Tarba. The paper was selected as it discusses cultural integration challenges encountered by organisations seeking to come together to form mergers or acquisitions.
Based on the rationale that the research by Weber and Tarba (2012) presents, the paper is selected for review. The research paper builds on the current research findings on the importance of creation of organisational cultural harmony in mergers and acquisitions.
Structure of report
The paper begins by discussion of the purpose, rationale, and related literature followed by the methodology adopted by the authors. The research findings are then presented before giving the conclusive remarks.
Summary of purpose, rationale, and related literature
Mergers and acquisitions have a problem of organisational cultural integration. For instance, when the merger between Westpac Corporation and St. George Bank was formed, issues of fear of retrenchments, cultural differences, and survival syndromes emerged.
Considering this example, it is important to develop both theoretical and practical approaches for resolution of these challenges in organisational management literature. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which Weber and Tarba (2012) fully discuss the challenges of acquisitions and mergers in terms of organisational culture integration and how the proposed solutions measure up to the indentified challenges.
When a merger or acquisition occurs between two organisations, tensions emerge between the different entities due to differing organisational cultures. Employees are the most affected elements of an organisation in the event of a merger. This assertion holds for employees are the active components of an organisation that are directly subject to established organisational cultures.
Human resources play the function of helping in the management of the challenges occurring from differing organisational cultures of the organisations coming together to form a merger.
However, amidst this effort, cultural integration challenges are inevitable. For this reason, it is important to determine both the challenges and solutions to integration of organisational cultures affecting organisations coming together to form a merger or acquisition. This observation underlines the relevance and rationale for reviewing the selected research paper.
Clarity of the research question
In both qualitative and quantitative research, research questions form the basis for communicating the intentions of conducting a specific research. Scientific research contains research question(s) preceding conceptual frameworks since the review of existing research should correspond to the intention of conducting a given research. The clarity of a research question is gauged based on two main important aspects.
The ability to specify the type of research being undertaken constitutes the first aspects, while the second aspect encompasses the capacity to identify particular research objectives. The objective of the Weber and Tarba’s (2012, p.288) research is specified in the purpose statement as ‘advancing cross-cultural management during mergers and acquisitions’. However, the authors only state the purpose of research and then proceed to examine their conceptual framework without providing clear research questions.
A review of literature on the findings on cross-cultural differences in post-mergers or acquisitions over the last twenty years from the time of the research reveals mixed findings.
Relying on the theoretical and empirical research findings on impacts of cross-cultural differences in mergers and acquisitions, Weber and Tarba (2012, p. 288) argue that the findings reflect ‘contradictory and perplexing findings’. From one perspective, the research confirms that impacts of cultural differences between organisations forming mergers or acquisitions produce negative implications in terms of their performance.
However, by quoting the work of different scholars, Weber and Tarba (2012) argue that some literature on effects of cross-cultural differences in mergers and acquisitions may also have positive impacts apart from negative effects to the success of mergers and acquisitions. These findings pose the question on whether to propagate and encourage cross-cultural differences in organisations in the post-merger state.
Weber and Tarba (2012) argue that most executives and managers involved in planning and subsequent execution of mergers only appreciate the roles of cross-cultural differences in affecting the success of a merger or acquisition in the post-merger or acquisition stage.
This assertion is based on in depth search and review of literature on how cross-cultural differences are handled in all stages of formation of mergers and acquisitions. For instance, the authors argue that the involved parties ignore or mishandle cultural differences during the decision-making process.
The authors attribute the above challenges to excessive focusing of scholarly literature on cultural differences in the post-merger state while ignoring its impacts on planning and negotiation phases. They also argue that concepts of culture are not clear to executives; hence, the assessment and implementation phases become problematic.
Therefore, in the conceptual framework, the authors examine literature that builds on the importance and how culture measurement and assessments are accomplished after defining organisational culture in the context of mergers and acquisitions and discussing the various perspectives of culture in an organisation.
Research methodology and design
Description and evaluation of methodology
This research did not deploy primary data collection methods. Consequently, there is no specific research site or context. However, the case studies deployed coupled with empirical and theoretical literature is confined to studies of successful and failed mergers and acquisitions.
Methods of data collection
The maim method of data collection used was conducting scrutiny of secondary data drawn from empirical and theoretical research on the processes of mergers and acquisitions formation. The main concern was particularly on studies incorporating perspectives of cross-cultural culture and its impacts on the success and failure of mergers.
Case studies were incorporated to avail data on practical scenarios on the implication of cultural differences on success of mergers and acquisitions. The evaluation of the appropriateness of the chosen research methodology depends on various considerations for quality qualitative research.
The methodology for qualitative research deployed in a research should have some specific characteristics. According to Yardley (2000, p.216), such characteristics include ‘credibility, reliability, use of rigorous methods and verification, validity, clarity, and coherence in reporting’ among others. According to Cohen and Crabtree (2008, p.333), scholars largely contend that ‘qualitative research should be ethical, be important, and be clearly and coherently articulated and use appropriate and rigorous methods’.
In the light of the identified qualities of good research methodology, validity is a striking trait vital for consideration in studies using case studies as the main research methodology. Validity can both be internal and external. Yardley (2000, p. 220) defines validity as the ‘best approximation to the truth or falsity of proportions’. External validity implies the degree of truth of various claims raised in the research and the existing variables.
On the other hand, Cohen and Crabtree (2008, p.333) posit that external validity implies the ‘extent to which one can generalise findings’. The method utilised in a qualitative research should aid the researchers to attain optimal levels of validity for their research for their work to add significant knowledge to the body of knowledge they seek to amplify. Case studies are important in this extent since they provide means for challenging various theoretical constructs and assumptions.
Methods of data analysis
Analysis involves examination of secondary data derived from literature on the formation of mergers and acquisitions to extract information on the extents of consideration of aspects of cross-cultural differences at various phases of mergers or acquisitions formation. Through this examination, gaps in the incorporation of cultural differences in processes of merger and acquisitions formation are identified.
The research paper by Weber and Tarba does not indentify its sample size. It does not also indentify the number of empirical theoretical studies or even case studies reviewed. The selection criteria of the different researches used in their review are also not indentified.
Research requires consideration of ethical issues in its design. In research, design, ethics implies compliance to acceptable research standards. Ethics in research is taken care of by conducting a research in a respectful, honest, and humane manner, which is engulfed within the values of collaboration, service, and empathy.
In the context of research by Yaakov Weber and Shlomo Tarba, validity, as an essential ethical issue, is well addressed. Case studies aid in the establishment of a practical framework for operation of suggested theoretical principles, which enhances the validity of the research. Ethics of research are observed by enhancing originality and provision of valuable research findings.
Adoption of research design in the future
Weber and Tarba’s research observes validity as an essential outcome of qualitative research deploying case studies and other forms of secondary data. The research offers possible insights and solutions to the challenges of corporate culture coupled with its implications in the pre-merger or acquisitions, the negotiation stage and the post-merger or acquisition stage.
The solutions offered are consistent with the identified gaps (lack of consideration of corporate culture in the planning and negotiation phases in formation of a merger or an acquisition). This implies that the research methodology is adoptable in other similar research study in the future.
Main findings and implications
Outline of the main findings
One of the chief findings of the research paper by Weber and Tarba (2012) is that the management teams and executives in charge of planning for mergers and acquisitions do not consider perspectives of cross-culture in the planning and negotiation phases of mergers or acquisitions’ formation. In addition, they do not have adequate knowledge on different organisational cultures; hence, evaluation and assessment of the implications on mergers and acquisitions become problematic.
The research notes that measurement of various organisational cultural differences is important at three stages. The authors report that at the planning phase, evaluation, and assessment of cross-cultural differences are the three important phases in a bid to increase the profitability of organisations.
Profitability increases since the identification of challenges anticipated in a merger or acquisition is possible on measurement of cross-cultural differences in organisations coming together to form a merger or acquisition. On identifications of cultural differences and upon their measurement, the authors argue that cash flow expectation can be determined and the impacts of the differences on the EPS and stock prices evaluated.
The research also notes that incorporation of perspectives of cross-cultural differences at the phase of mergers and acquisitions formation is important at the negotiations phase. Assessment and measurement of cross-cultural differences at this phase is crucial for various reasons as it aids in preparing for negotiations.
These preparations include provision of a mechanism of enabling organisations to understand communication challenges due to differing organisational culture, identification and drawing of red lines and strategies to handle cultural differences expected, and establishing a mechanism of determining the costs for the formation of mergers and acquisitions.
At the stage of negotiations, assessment and measuring of cross-cultural differences is of great importance in the effort to set up payment structures in relation to hardships for enhancing the integration process. Identification of challenges expected in mergers and acquisitions helps in the attainment of the negotiations’ objectives.
At the stage of contract signing, assessment and measurement of cross-cultural differences aids in the acceptance of appropriate prices while considering risks of cultural differences coupled with challenges of a merger and acquisition implementation. It also helps in determining the required levels of cooperation coupled with determining the requisite plan for implementation.
The third finding is on the importance of assessment and measurement of cross-cultural differences the in the integration process for organisations forming mergers or acquisitions. Through the measurement and assessment of cross-cultural differences, organisations are in a position to establish the correct approach of integration, determine the appropriate units for integration within organisations in the context of desired common culture.
The findings have the implication of calling for deployment of cross-cultural differences measurement in the planning, negotiation, and post-merger or acquisition phases, screening, and then classification of the potential candidates to engage in a merger or acquisition. This way, it becomes possible to avoid failures of mergers and acquisitions due to cross-cultural differences.
The findings also imply that mergers abort due to the failure to include the perspective of cross-cultural difference in the planning and negotiation phases of merger and acquisition formation. Hence, by understanding the various cultural differences amongst potential candidates for forming an acquisition or merger with, communication strategies for successful recruitment coupled with training can be developed in line with the prevailing organisational cultural differences.
The researchers provided important insights on how to evade failure of mergers and acquisitions due to the cross-cultural difference in the involved organisations. The study was based on case studies of experienced failures on mergers and acquisitions deals to consider the aspect of cross-cultural differences in all phases of forming acquisitions and mergers.
However, the researchers did not infer from their findings to explain how such information could be applied through the application-specific findings on avoiding failure of mergers or acquisitions applicable to each case.
Highlighting key points
In the research conducted by Weber and Tarba using the evaluation of both theoretical and empirical studies on effects of cross-cultural differences in formation of mergers and acquisitions, the authors conclude that the perspectives should be considered in the planning, negotiation, and post-merger or acquisition phases. The findings of their research indicate that the incorporation of these perspectives may aid in reduction of failure rates of mergers and acquisitions.
Suitability of the research design
Although case studies are deployed to evaluate the role of cross-cultural differences in the success of mergers and acquisitions, this research design has the limitation of failing to infer back to the case studies to establish appropriate course of action that could have avoided failure of specific mergers and acquisitions discussed in the case studies. However, the findings are important for consideration in the future mergers involving organisations with differing cross-cultures.
Cohen, D. & Crabtree, B. 2008, ‘Evaluative Criteria for Qualitative Research in Health Care: Controversies and Recommendations’, Criteria for Qualitative Research, vol. 6 no.4, pp. 331-339.
Weber, Y. & Tarba, S. 2012, ‘Mergers and Acquisitions Process: The Use of Corporate Culture Analyses’, Cross Cultural Management, vol.19 no.3, pp. 288-303.
Yardley, L. 2000, ‘Dilemmas in qualitative health research’, Psychological Health, vol.15 vol.3, pp. 215-228.
Weber’s Conception of the Capitalist Entrepreneur and the Modern Bureaucrat Essay
Capitalist entrepreneurs base their decision in possible returns after proper calculations. They believe in the existence free entry and exit to market and the adequate flow of the factors of production. Thus, there is a wide market where profits are directly proportion to innovations and efficiency in the production.
While modern bureaucracy is the administration means where appropriate knowledge vital and vested rights of an individual is purely on efficient in performances. Weber affirm that credential of an individual should be based on qualification which is evident in the modern society where formal education is emphasized.
According to Weber “it is not ideas, but material and ideal interests that directly govern men’s conduct. The ‘world images’ have been created by ‘ideas’ along which actions have been pushed by dynamic of interest” (Weber, Gerthand Turner 280). The ideas act as a base for one to carve appropriate actions avenue to inspire revolution and development leading to capitalist entrepreneurs. Thus, it is not capitalism that threaten individual creativity but the increasing bureaucracies dominance due to rationalization process.
The existence of capitalist entrepreneurs will lay a good foundation for competition that will lead to increase in innovative ideas hence the increase in opportunities. The growth is brought about by social transformation which is dramatically fueled by individuals calling accompanied by a need to change the social life. It is the differences in economy and social lives that have to the developments in the bureaucracy in order to level it.
Modern bureaucracy to some extent being more perfectly leads to dehumanization especially when it succeeds completely in criminating emotional elements, hatred and love for business in personal gain that escapes proper calculations.
This is a consideration as it is partially a virtue of capitalism as material gains is necessary condition. Advancing in bureaucracy calls for more specialization and division of labor in order to have suitable foundation of administration hence, the need for trained experts who would displaces the traditional way of leadership (Edles and Appelrouth 217).
The legal system in the bureaucrats has led to the development of capitalist entrepreneurs in that each person is treated as having right which regulated in the commercial dealings. There is universal citizenship where each person has equal rights despite the religion, tribe and class differences.
There is the need for professionalism and expertise these matters. The capitalist are the wealth owner even if they do not directly involve in the production. Similarly one can be a solder without being the owner of the gun but they are given the mandate to use it where necessary. The legal system thus ensures that individual rights are not violated when one is doing his or her duty ((Weber, Gerth and Turner 168).
Consequently, for bureaucracy to advance there is need for proper planning and sufficient resources all organized in a professional conduct. This is guided by the officialdom minimization of authority so as expand the sphere of interest in serving the larger public.
The qualifications of experts are highly regarded in order to be efficient in the provision of required services while shortening their term to monitor and evaluate their performances. This is a similar case in capitalist entrepreneurs who are minority in the country and efficiently provide necessities due to their line of specialization and their interests. Here the rule of elite in both cases is witnessed (Weber, Gerth and Turner 169).
The Modern bureaucracy is indestructible as the administration is headed to perfection. This is because a rationally organized instrument under equal conditions with social action is more superior if directed to actions by collective behavior even if it is being opposed by social actions.
The possibility of this is enhanced by the full control of the modern means of communications and increased internal structures rationalization. This is a similar occasion where it is hard to eliminate individual enterprises that with time develops strategies to keep off potential competitors and since they are providers of necessities then they becomes indestructible. They have put down stronger foundation while being the key innovators in the modern society.
The distinction is importance in understanding the modern society because almost all societies have changed in their view in capitalism. It is this that has led to nations adapting privatization in their resources. With the current global warming in all parts of the world, it is entrepreneurs who are in the fore front advocating for appropriate ways of development without adversely affecting the resources and human existence.
Modernization leads to more literate population who becomes more innovative and eager to accumulate wealth. There is a strong correlation between the capitalist and early preface of accumulative literacy in the growth and development of various economies in the world.
It is the capitalist entrepreneurs who have provided great jobs opportunities due to their innovations and need to secure their ideas and interests. Specialization in different areas and being ground-breaking in it has led to some entrepreneurs becoming key figures in the society as they are mandated with the role of decision making.
It is this that sees them becoming politicians and developing appropriate bureaucracies to safe guard their businesses and to be minority in the field. This is what has stirred the widely contested elections and the use of advanced technology in administration. The administration is left to minority who are more qualified and experts to rule the majority who becomes satisfied.
In the modern society there is a wide economical gap between the rich and the poor especially in developing countries. There is a greater number of idleness and poorhouses where finally develops into slums. The gap to some cases can be attributed to capitalist entrepreneurs who only want to meet the goal of accumulative wealth and influential decision making.
In these countries, the effect of inflation is highly felt by all citizens since there is more hoarding of necessities in anticipation of high prices to increase government revenue from taxation which is directly proportion to profits. The modern bureaucracy has seen devolution of resources nationally leading to a reduction of poverty. They have resolved to proper planning and administration of available resource thereby encouraging private investment to various parts for efficiency.
The Modern bureaucracy in most of the developing countries has led to office holders doing wrong in favor of a politician. This has led sacrificing offices in stead of genuinely accepting responsibility for their morally dubious deed. This has led to misuse of available resources and few minorities benefiting especially in cases where stability and reliability of bureaucracy is more superior.
This is what has led to the capitalist entrepreneur in the modern societies monitor and evaluate the performance of an individual in every stage. Hence the workers are aware of their preoccupations which in most cases are measured mathematically where modern lines runs the enterprise. (Edles and Appelrouth 180)
More so, the increase in the population of people creates the need for modern bureaucracy where good administration is needed. The complexity of the space and the growth in population has resulted to the increase in monetary economy. In order to sufficiently satisfy the citizens, the communications and transportation sector has to be efficient.
The new systems are costly to install in all the areas but they treats all people equally. In a capitalist enterprise one efficiently provides the goods and services using the available resources to meet as many consumers as possible.
In conclusion, the modern bureaucracy can be considered to be effective in the rationalization in the society. This is due to the fact that both private and public sectors in various economies have expanded in their efficiency and usage of modern technologies.
There are various characteristics of modern bureaucrats that are ideal in the society in order to make a distinctive mark. This includes efficiency, well stipulated code of conduct, authority hierarchy, division of labor based on individual specialization, impersonality and promotion on achievements through monitoring.
Coordinating large population in the modern society bureaucracy is sufficiently enhanced by prevailing structural features including advanced technology. The capitalist economy has assisted in making this possible by coordinating planning in the large scale sectors. The inventions always come with the monetary gain hence contributing to growth and development since there is a cycle in investing in other areas.
Edles, Laura and Appelrouth, Scott. Sociological theory in the classical era: Text and readings. New York: Sage, 1965.Print.
Weber, Max, Gerth, Hans H. and Turner, Bryan. From Max Weber: Essays in sociology. New York: Routlegde, 1946.Print.
Max Weber’s Rationality Theory Essay
Rationality has been studied and defined by both philosophers and sociologists over a long period of time now. Philosophers use reason and rationality as their major methods when it comes to the analysis of data collected from well defined observation methods (Sica, 2004, 2). In sociology and related disciplines, rationality of a given situation or decision depends mainly on whether it is optimal in nature or not.
On the other hand, persons or organisations are said to be rational if their actions are optimal as far as achievement of objectives is concerned. An optimal action refers to the pursuance of the most desired outcomes within limits that have either been expressed or implied. Sociological rationalisation refers to the process of series of actions and engagements by human beings with an aim of achieving a purposive and well calculated ends which does not rely on emotions, moral considerations, or traditions (Farganis, 2008, 35).
Rationalisation is considered as a key characteristic of the modernisation process. In the need for social services, one can talk of rational allocation of available resources. When it comes to organisational operations, proposed corporate strategies can be said to be optimally rational.
Many sociological researchers have tried to investigate the concept of rationality in order to understand it fully. They have defined rationality as the process and success in the pursuit of a given objective regardless of the nature of the objectives (Pampel, 2007, 24). This implies that any act of rationality is not screened in terms of its ethicality, morality, or other forms of criticisms.
For philosophers, a high quality rationale ought to be free from the influence of emotions, personal preferences, and any other feelings that may create bias. Many rationality theories have been advanced by researchers to explain this concept. The essay seeks to critically analyse Weber’s idea of rationality and the conclusions that he drew about the effects of rationalisation on modern life.
Max Weber was a renowned German classical sociologist who lived between 1864 and 1920. Weber, as a sociologist, was more concerned with the interpretation of the different actions in the social settings. He defined sociology as a science which seeks to understand and interpret human behavior with an aim of being able to explain the causes of given behaviour/action, the course which they would take, and the impacts of the behaviours/actions (Sica, 2004, 5).
His theory provides a subjective description of factors that are thought to influence the various social actions which in turn define a given society. In his theory, Weber distinguishes between action and behaviour. He notes that action occurs as a result of deliberate and conscious process where people try to attach meaning to their actions as well as understanding their environment. Behaviour, on the other hand, is described by Weber as an automatic reaction which occurs unconsciously or with little consciousness.
Weber proposed that human action/behaviour could best be understood by exploring how people regard their actions and what they associate their interactions, actions, and experiences with ((Pampel, 2007, 33). In order to understand the various social actions and behaviours, Max Weber formulated different types of rationality which were ideals. These ideals are the sociologists’ intellectual constructs that can be used in exploring historical facts.
He categorised rationality (action-based) into four distinct types. According to him, there is the purposive rational action which is also called instrumental rationality action. This type of rationality is associated with the expectations concerning the behavior of human beings or things that exist in the surrounding (Morrison, 1995, 212). The behavioural expectations are the ways through which a given actor uses to achieve some goals or ends. The ends, from Weber’s judgment, are pursued in a rational manner and following well calculated moves.
The second type of rational action that was identified by Weber is the belief or value-oriented rationality. This type involves actions executed by an actor subject to the intrinsic reasons which may include ethical, religious, and aesthetic value systems. The actions, however, are not judged whether they will lead to success or not. This contradicts the philosophical perspective which considers the means in justifying the ends and vise versa.
Affectual rationality was the third approach of interpreting rational action. Weber explained that this type is determined by the actor’s affectual orientation, feelings or emotions. He also emphasized that this type of rationality was on the intermediate position of what can be regarded as meaningfully oriented rationality. This type shares some characteristics with the philosopher’s perspective of rational actions.
The last type of interpreting social actions is the traditional rationality. This is determined by the existing norms or habits in a given society (Farganis, 2008, 56). Weber argued that some human actions are controlled by what one has learnt over time, and he/she acts in a given way not because he/she chooses to, but because he/she thinks that it is how it is expected to be done. His classifications were based on the most dominant type of behaviour orientation and its interpretation.
However, Weber noted that no single type can be used in understanding the actions in the environment; instead, integration of the various types of rationality was common among human beings (Ritzer & Goodman, 2003, 110). He further emphasised that the first two types of rationality were the most common and reliable in the interpretation of social actions. Affectual and traditional rationality were considered as being details of the first two.
From a critical point of view, Weber’s classification of the types of interpreting social actions can be considered as having both some strengths as well as weaknesses. On the positive, the kinds of rationality proposed provide an easy way of interpreting behaviour. It does not discriminate some behaviours on the basis of their being irrational.
They provide a basis for interpreting behaviour depending on the criterion used. A given social act may not meet the purposive interpretation but may be explained using another kind, for instance the belief-oriented or the affectual type. On the other hand, actions whose bases are traditional may not be explained by the purposive rationality.
Some loopholes in Weber’s ideas on the interpretation of social actions have been identified. From a Habermasian’s point of view, the approach lacks the consideration of social context (Pampel, 2007, 40). It also underestimates the potential of social power as far as transforming existing norms and traditions is concerned.
Moreover, the feminist proponents have criticised the idea citing the need by Weber’s idea to maintain male dominance as misguided (Morrison, 1995, 218). This is mainly as prescribed by the first and the fourth types of rationality. From ancient traditions, most social actions have been shaped around masculine values and powers. From Weber’s perspective, these should always be considered when it comes to the interpretation of social actions.
Another prominent sociologist by the name Etzioni used Weber’s proposals for the interpretation of human behaviour to re-construct an understanding of social actions (Morrison, 1995, 248). He argued that purposive rationality is controlled by the consideration of existing norms.
These norms regulate how human beings ought to act. Etzioni also points out that affective rationality plays a central role in helping people to socialise with one another. He emphasized that these two considerations are key in the development of a new decision-making model as opposed to Weber’s proposal.
Apart from the four types of interpreting social actions, Weber also proposed four types of rationality. The types are: practical, theoretical, substantive, and formal rationality. Most studies point out that Weber was more concerned with formal rationality which focused mostly on and contributed to the understanding of historical developments. This process led to rationaliasation which helped in the transformation of the Western world (Pampel, 2007, 49).
Weber was curious in wanting to know the historical trends that shaped the success of rationalisation in the Western states and its failure to take effect in other countries. He was able to single out religion as a major force that led to rationalisation in the West. The Protestant ethic in the Western world significantly contributed to its rationalisation. Weber continued to argue that the Protestant ethic was so intense that it caused the ultimate emergence of capitalism in this part of the world (Farganis, 2008, 46).
His focus on the role of religion in other countries showed that the economic ethics taught by Confucianism and Hinduism hampered rationalisation and thus preventing the emergence of capitalism in the countries in which the kinds of religion were practiced, especially in China and India respectively.
Moreover, Weber’s rationality theory focused on the various types of authority. He concentrated on the forces of legitimate dominion in human relationships. Weber developed three basic types/structures of authority; traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal. This can be considered as being the ideal types of authority that researchers can use when comparing given phenomena (Sica, 2004, 105).
Of the three types of authority, Weber was more concerned with understanding the rational-legal structure, especially the way in which it was organised. The rational-legal authority was organised in a bureaucratic manner. This type enhanced rationalisation through the empirical estimations that were made to it. It is controlled by rules and set laws of the land or a given organisation.
Traditional authority, on the other hand, is concerned with the belief systems of established societies which are manifested through their practices and norms. A given authority is recognised as being legitimate due to its continued practice (Pampel, 2007, 57). This type of authority is often associated with patriarchalism, patrimonialism, feudalism, and gerontocracy.
Furthermore, charismatic authority refers to the belief that develop towards leaders perceived to have extraordinary capabilities. The powers possessed by the leader should be recognised by the followers since they play a central role in every form of authority (Ritzer & Goodman, 2003, 121).
Organisations with have some form of charismatic characteristics will mostly have a charismatic leader. The greatest challenge in charismatic organisations or groups is the replacement of the leader incase of a vacancy. As a result, organisations under such authority have resorted to the routinisation of charisma and hence the adoption of either rational-legal type of authority or the traditional authority (Morrison, 1995, 271).
From Weber’s perspective, rationalisation has taken root in virtually all spheres, particularly in the field of economy, religion, law, art, and the city and thus affecting the modern human life. According to Weber, modern rationalisation in the West has been enhanced by religious (Calvinism) economic ethics and capitalism as well as the rational-legal authority.
It is the process of rationalisation, according to Weberian sociology, that is responsible for modernity (Sica, 2004, 124). The different types of rationality discussed earlier are used to explain the rationalisation process. Additionally, Weber saw rationalisation as being similar to disenchantment. Disenchantment can be defined as the process of making the world devoid of mystery, magic, and other spiritual forces (Morrison, 1995, 303).
From a religious point of view, rationalisation is the equivalent of secularisation. This implies that most social sectors and practices are not controlled by religion and its institutions. The process of demystifying the world of the numerous gods, secularisation, and rationalisation was propelled by the emergence of science and capitalism (Ritzer & Goodman, 2003, 137).
According to Weber, the process of rationalising the world was unstoppable since despite the fact that the process started in the West, its impact has since been felt virtually everywhere (Morrison, 1995, 277).
He sees the process as a defining characteristic for modernity which will ultimately make the world emptier. This is because rationality does not regard human emotions, traditions, affective human ties, and mystery. Instead, human relations are viewed from economic relations, impersonal relationships as well as expertise orientation which he referred to as professionalisation.
Weber thinks that the values which used to hold the social fabric together in the past have been diminished in the recent past as a result of the rationalisation process (Ritzer & Goodman, 2003, 149). Formally creative arts, particularly music and painting have henceforth lost their value due to the same process. From a Weberian point of view, the modern life is drawing more to being disenchanted and rationalised.
The essay has critically elaborated Max Weber’s complex idea of rationality and rationalisation as well as the conclusions he reached concerning the impacts of rationalisation on the modern life. He noted that rationalisation is a continuous process in the modern society.
Some of the forces that Weber identified as propagating the process include; Protestantism, economic systems, democracy, subject knowledge, and bureaucratic organisation of the society. He also notes that the future of the modern life lies in the intrigues of status, class, and party/power. We can therefore conclude from a Weberian perspective that modern times are shaped by rationalisation and intellectualisation processes.
Farganis, James (ed.) (2008) Readings in Social Theory- The Classical Tradition to Post-Modernism. 5th edition. Boston: McGraw Hill, pp. 35-107
Morrison, David K. (1995) Marx, Durkheim Weber. London: SAGE, pp. 212-255; 270-304
Pampel, Francis (2007) Sociological Lives and Ideas – An Introduction to the Classical Theorists. New York: Worth Plc. pp. 23-58
Ritzer, George. & Goodman, Douglas J. (2003) Sociological Theory. Sixth Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill ‘Max Weber’ pp. 108-152
Sica, Alan (2004) Max Weber and the new century. Transaction Plc. 1-130
Parsons and Weber: Tools and Trade Essay
Talcott Parsons and Marx Weber are two social theorists whose contribution in sociology is undeniable. However, their views are very different although Parsons is a student of Weber. When Parsons first arrived in Heildelberg, Weber’s influence still had a strong grip on the community here despite the latter having died several years earlier (Calhoun et al 82). Weber’s social theories further resonated with Parsons because they had a spiritual and cultural orientation to them.
Weber‘s social theories suggest that human beings level of understanding is curtailed by the difficulties in understanding why social events occur in a specific manner. Weber’s approach is more accommodating in its scope because it suggests that understanding is either observational or explanatory (Calhoun et al 220). Parsons’ theories on the other hand were based on a behaviorist approach, meaning that human beings can deduce social meanings through observation (Calhoun et al 98).
Key methodological issues introduced by Parsons and Weber
Parsons’ contributions to social theories and social actions include his analysis of social institutions, outlining systemic theory into sociology, description of the voluntaristic theory of action and analysis of anti-Semitism, fascism and aggression as the main problems facing the society (Calhoun et al 82). Parsons’ action theory explains how structures in the society fit together. The identified systems in this theory include: social systems, cultural systems, personality systems and behavioral-organism system.
Weber’s theories address individual actions based in a social environment, and people’s interaction with the environment. The main difference between the two is that while Weber takes symbolic-interactions perspectives in his theories, Parsons’ approach addresses the same from a functionalistic perspective.
Voluntaristic Theory of Action
Parsons regarded the development of social theory as having developed from three traditions namely: society, man’s nature and human behavior (Calhoun et al 110). Before he set out to put up his own theory about the society, Parsons took time to study work done by other socialist and concluded that “none of them has ever captured the entire truth about social behavior” (Calhoun et al 110).
As such, he took it upon himself to develop a theory that would reconcile and integrate the truths captured by other social theorists. He considered past works by Max Weber, Pareto, Durkheim and Marshall (Calhoun et al 82).
Utilitarianism and economic theory
Parsons captured this theory because it is systemic, analytical and action oriented (Calhoun et al 110). The theory deals with action, experience and understanding since it gives the society a motivation dynamic that explains behavior, thus helping people to anticipate specific things when conditions that are assumed in the theory happen.
Parsons however had strong arguments against the economic theory as it were stating that economists who held the theory’s conception need to accept that the theory has no precise application in the empirical world.
As such, Parsons argued that a pure economic theory would never achieve the general theory status because neither the classical nor the utilitarian economists were able to develop a theory that took social order into consideration without having to infuse rationalistic or individualistic frameworks in to their theories (Calhoun et al 141).
Weber on his part argued that understanding (verstehen) was the ideal way of studying social phenomenon since it would help human beings to understand their actions, interactions and experiences (Calhoun et al 142)
Significant points between Parsons and Weber
Parsons and Weber main difference regards their approach to understanding. According to (Calhoun et al 33), “Parsons lays little regard to material objects revealed through empathy or introspection. Weber on the other hand, does not recognize the distinction of material objects since his sociology is based on real subjective and objective components”. Weber’s approach is tenable when one considers the difference between behavior and action.
This is because behavior refers individual actions, whereby the actor has no clear consciousness of the motivation behind it. As such, Weber states that “behavior is not understandable”. Parsons however fails to recognize this aspect of Weber’s allegation and instead focuses on an action theory, which assumes that human actions are voluntary, symbolic and unintentional (Calhoun et al 77).
Another distinction between Parsons and Weber is their approach to economics. Parsons developed a four-prong system based on four tasks, which relates to the environment. Commonly referred to as the GAIL system, the system is based on polity (Goal-attainment), economy (adaptation), cultural system concerned with social control and law (integration) and normative motivation to fulfill roles in the society (latency).
To Parsons therefore, economic prosperity is reliant on how well the scarce resources in a given environment were allocated. This was a reflection of his idealistic approach (Parsons 20, cited in Calhoun et al 40). Weber on the other hand attributed economic prosperity to a society’s work ethic. To him, the more committed a society was to work, the higher their chances of economic success.
Weber terms the notion that government can decide the economic reality of a society through legislation as misguided. “In future as in the past, it will be the ‘interests’ of individuals rather that the ‘ideas’ of an economic administration which will rule the world.” (Calhoun et al 77).
He further points out that the proclamations by governments do not in any way affect the value of money. Rather, money’s value is determined by its associations with other goods, thus meaning that “money is not only a means of payment, but a means of exchange too.’(Calhoun et al 77).
To Parsons, demand and supply economics was at the basis of his economic theories. He perceived money as a ‘medium of exchange’, whereby the capitalist could purchase labor through money rather than giving the labor provider a means of existence such as food or clothing (Parsons 112). To Parsons, moneys value did not just stop at being a medium of exchange. Rather, it is also a ‘measure of trust’, hence providing the society with a tool to measure the trustworthiness of their social interactions.
Parsons grouped money with other media that circulates in the society. In particular, he grouped money with commitment, influence and power, stating that the four (money, commitment, influence and power) circulated in the society thus allowing people to achieve specific objectives (Parsons 324 cited by Calhoun et al 142).
These sentiments are shared by Weber. However, his approach is more from a power-money standpoint. He argues that politics and power is a preserve of the wealthy because the average person is too absorbed in making a living such that even if he had the interest or potential for politics, he would not find the time necessary to commit to politics in order to win an elective post.
“Democracy has only the choice of being run cheaply by rich who hold honorary office or of being run expensively by paid professional politicians” (Calhoun et al 113). He however ruled out the possibility that the society would pay professional politicians to run the politics of the country thus concluding that influence and power was the reserve of the wealthy people in the society.
Although he learnt a great deal of sociology from Weber, Parsons was reluctant to admit Weber’s view regarding that “objects susceptible to interpretative understanding are just as real as the phenomena recognized by the behaviorists.” (Calhoun et al 35).
This was despite Weber’s explanation that the phenomena required different study procedures. Instead, Parsons adopted a problematic strategy, based on structural functional analysis, capable of exemplifying social phenomena on priori models of dependence and interrelation (Calhoun et al 49).
Weber is skeptic when it comes to the suggestion that a socialist economy can be run without money being the mode of exchange. Even when the economy is small, dealing with simple identifiable needs and centered on consumption only, Weber still expresses doubt that people would be able to trade efficiently in such an environment.
“How does one determine which parts of the economy are doing poorly or what factor of production has contributed to product value?” (Calhoun et al 14). To Weber, a society without money is almost impossible because people would have to incentive to evaluate alternative cost.
To Weber, social action presents the most ideal means of analysis society. According to him, action involves verstehen– “understanding of subjective motivations” (Calhoun et al 207). As such, his theories were based on the ability of one form of social order (e.g. religion, culture or economics) that could transform other domains of the society.
He further argued that social actions by individuals were as a result of benefit calculation or conscious cost in the different spheres of life (Calhoun et al 207). This meant that people were no longer tied to traditional guidelines set by the society.
In the Voluntaristic theory, Parsons suggests that a society should or would not adopt a set of values. His argument suggested that societies need common orienting principles. His argument was based on the belief that human actors in a society are faced with five variable dilemmas.
“Gratification-discipline, private-collective, universalism-particularism, achievement-ascription, and specificity-diffuseness” (Calhoun et al 403). Based on these, Parsons argued that the society had a cultural system, a personality system and a social system, all which were interdependent on each other.
Where Weber talks of environment and organisms, Parsons talks of a situation and an actor; where Weber talks of response or behavior, Parson discusses action. From the theories suggested by Parsons and Weber, one gets the impression that social organization consists of social systems, culture, roles and stratifications, which set the conditions which the society is supposed to act on.
However, it is noteworthy that more often than not, people act towards situations rather than towards social structures or culture. This then means that social organization is only potent to the extent where it shapes societal situations thus giving people a reason to act.
According to Calhoun et al (77) social organization can also prompt people to act by giving them with symbols that could help them interpret situations? Both Parson and Weber has given us a reason to view the human society as an organization by identifying the society, conditions or forms that people identify with, and identifying what is most likely to bring change in the specific society.
Calhoun, Craig, Gerteis, Joseph, Moody, James, Pfaff, Steven and Virk, Indermohan. Contemporary Sociological Theory. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007. Print.
Calhoun, Craig, Gerteis, Joseph, Moody, James, Pfaff, Steven and Virk, Indermohan. Classical Sociological Theory. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2007. Print.
Max Weber: Economic History, Theory of Bureaucracy, and Politics as a Vocation Research Paper
The fields of sociology, law and economics have had many contributions from renowned people of the ancient and modern era. This has led to many scholars advocating for increased attention on the intersection of these disciplines forming what is commonly known as the economic sociology of law.
Amongst the ancient contributors is the great sociologist and political economist known as Karl Emil Maximilian or “Max” Weber (Roth 2). Max Weber made great contributions in the discipline of sociology where he profoundly influenced the issues of rationalism and disenchantment in the face of modernity as well as capitalism.
His works were much diversified such that even after the First World War he was one of the founders of the German Democratic Party which was a liberal party formed to fight for the rights of the Germans. All these incorporated with other works are what made him alongside other sociologists such as Emile Durkheim to be named as the principal developers of modern social science.
This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the life and works of Max Weber with emphasis of the main three works on Economic history, theory of bureaucracy and politics as a vocation. It also provides a biography and an introduction to the works of Max Weber alongside his main contributions to the field of sociology.
The Biography of Max Weber
Born in Erfurt- Germany in the year 1864 Karl Emil Maximilian or “Max” Weber was the eldest child of Max Weber’s Sr. seven children. Max Weber was privileged to grow up in an intellectual environment since his father was a prominent civil servant while his mother held strong morals for her children.
This is what influenced him together with one of his younger brothers Alfred who is also a great economist and sociologists to be great intellectuals. For instance, he at one time presented two written essays one on ‘The course of German History’ and another on ‘The Roman Imperial Constantine to the migration of nations’ to his parents as Christmas gifts.
This was a clear indication that this child had great idea which when well nurtured would make him a great intellectual in the society and the whole world at large.
His career began in the year 1882 when he enrolled for a law course in the University of Heidelberg but thereafter left the military for the University of Berlin. He continued studying law until he later graduated in the year 1889 and thereafter lectured at the University of Berlin while consulting for the government.
Among his early works was the completion of his dissertation on ‘The History of Medieval Business Organizations’ in which he majored on the contemporary social policy (Roth 1). The subsequent years of Max Weber were filled with much research and findings in the disciplines of sociology and political economy until his death in June 1920 as a result of pneumonia caused by contraction of Spanish flu.
Max Weber’s contributions to Sociology
Just as mentioned above, Max Weber was a great sociologist and political economist who made great contributions to the intellectual world. To begin with, he showed how social institutions depend on each other for instance an alteration in a religious institution would definitely affect the economic situation of the place.
This differed from the belief that people had long before that religion and economics were sectors of different worlds. Among his other major contributions was on Protestantism whereby he illustrated the emergent related values that eventually led to the modern capitalism (Camic et al, 416).
Max Weber introduced the notion of bureaucracy in which he isolated the three types of societal authorities that is charismatic, traditional and rational-legal. Throughout his life, Weber did not support traditional nor charismatic authorities since he viewed them to be unfair and unjust to the society.
He instead supported rational-legal type of leadership which to him was bureaucratic and open to everyone in the society. Last but not least Max Weber preferred rationalism to capitalism as he believed that it was the best way of interpreting modernity.
The Three works of Max Weber
The Economic History
Despite the fact that Max Weber majored on sociological theories, he also made accomplishments in the discipline of economics. Weber referred to himself as a political economist since he was a member of the German historical school of economics. At that time, economics was underdeveloped not as it is in the modern era.
This makes it impossible to establish the great works that Max Weber did during that time as there have been many revolutions in economics. However, throughout his research in economics, Weber was very interested in interpreting the economic history. Among the greatest treatise written by Max Weber on the economic history was ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’ (Camic et al, 416).
This was very fundamental in the economic progress as various interpretations were raised to show the influence of Protestants in relation to the Catholics. Max Weber argued that there was a relation between religion and economics such that a change in the religious institution would have an eventual effect on the economic situation of the society in place.
He further proposed that there was a great link between the economic development and the cultural relation of the people in the society. This theory was the biggest facilitator of the industrial capitalism that took place in Western Europe.
The theory of economic history was further subdivided into smaller divisions namely; Human capital theory of protestant Economic History and Work ethic.
According to Max Weber’s economic theory of capitalism, he suggested that the greatest investment in the labor market is education since it provided high earnings and increased productivity (Camic et al, 416). This theory can be proved by a simple model shown below;
U(y S) = log (y(S)) +rd (S) – h(S)
This model shows the positive marginal returns that result from education investment. On work ethic, Max Weber sanctioned that people were free to accumulate as much wealth as they could. He believed that God was able to provide human beings with wealth despite having them work to earn the wealth.
This theory was and has been hotly debated for its interpretation and exact mechanisms. However, Max Weber argues that the work ethic was the driving force for making the Protestants to increase their output in work. This theory further explains the reason as to why the Protestants increase their savings with the hope of increasing their investments as well as productivity in the long-run.
Other of Max Weber’s contributions in the theory of economic history was the formulation of the three-phase theory of stratification. The three components of this theory were distinctly different elements as follows;
- The Social class explains the economic relationship that exists between market operators such as employees, investors just to mention but a few.
- The party class defines the political affiliations of the party members.
- Status class refers to the non-economic characteristics such as prestige and denomination.
In this social stratification, Max Weber concluded that the different classes led to different consequences leading to what he referred to as life chances. According to Max Weber, economics was diversified with broad coverage of the economic and the non-economic issues that have great economical influence.
Criticism of this theory
This theory is the most debated of all his theories because of the controversy it provides. Most scholars have questioned as to whether Max Weber was exactly addressing the issue of economic inequality present at that time or rather was he trying to make further clarification of origin of capitalism.
A common criticism was that Max Weber was in fact trying to give wrong interpretations for the Catholic and protestant doctrines in addition to wrongly explaining capitalism. Most scholars could not establish the relationship between denomination and work ethic.
The most important thing was to establish the validity of Weber’s statements in this theory which have proved to be futile. For instance, Joseph Schumpeter one of the greatest economists dismissed Max Weber’s argument that capitalism began during the industrial revolution. He instead tabled it out that it was started in Italy in the 14th century.
Nevertheless, the critics can be explained by Max Weber’s initial sentence of this theory where he denotes that this theory is based on within-country comparisons. Max Weber focuses on western civilized states which he argues that his theory is most applicable.
My point of view
This theory is very controversial regardless of the fact that Max Weber tried to prove it by even using statistical data combined with the church doctrines. There are parts of the theory that I agree to while others are completely unachievable.
For instance when Max Weber states that wealth is God’s grace to His people, I definitely disagree to this statement. If that were the case, we would not have people working hard including himself. I however, concur with him when he states that education is a great investment to increased productivity and earnings.
Further support to this theory can be established even from the above given equation of marginal returns of education. Again on this theory I disagree with Max Weber’s fact that religion and economics were closely related.
This is because although all people have a denomination, the denomination has nothing to do with their economic status or rather economic contribution. Last but not least, I would like to recommend Max Weber for his great works in economics especially on the development of social stratifications regardless of the fact that he was more of a sociologist.
Bureaucracy can be defined as an organization that is headed by government officials who are not elected. Bureaucracy could also mean long chains of command within an organization that are unnecessary and are put in place to control the operations of the organization (Roth 2).
According to Max Weber who happens to be among the first founders and discoverers of the studies of bureaucracy, defines bureaucracy as a modern form of organization rising from the western world. He further describes it as the foundation to the continuing rationalization of the western society.
In this organization leadership and management of the organization was based on intellectual structure. By introducing the bureaucratic theory Max Weber expected to solve the problems associated with the earlier forms of administration.
His target was to make administration a more effective and efficient system. He knew by so doing he would provide the job security needed to the employees in any organization that adapted the system. It would also empower workers by giving them a chance to grow and develop themselves in terms of their careers.
Features of a bureaucratic organization
Max Weber came up with quite a number of features or characteristics of his theory of bureaucracy which include the following. First was about specialization of jobs and division of labor. This implied that duties were clearly defined and merit was used to allocate duties.
Only skilled and specialized personnel were appointed rather than the hierarchical where a leader would appoint those close to them in favor. There was also the issue of management by rules.
This meant that the officials were governed and made their rulings and decisions in accordance with the laid down rules of the organization. The rules were made at the executive or high levels of the organization’s management and executed to even the lowest levels of the organization consisting of the subordinate staff.
There was also the hierarchy of authority or office. This was to replace the traditional system of authority where there was no clear chain of command within an organization.
Max Weber’s hierarchy of office pointed out that the top management of an organization was responsible for its control whereas the lower offices should take orders from above and respect them. It is also a two way traffic where the high offices should accept orders from the lower authority and consider their appeals just like any other. Selection based on caveat is another feature of Weber’s theory.
This feature implies that only qualified officials who meet the required credentials are appointed. Those employed are remunerated in terms of salary or wages and not gifts like land or property. The remuneration offered should also be determined by the qualifications of the successful official appointed or elected.
This principle rules out the issue of officers who are unqualified being appointed into offices they cannot serve as required. They are also overpaid or underpaid while some are given the organizations property as their remuneration which in the long run results in embezzlement and misappropriation of the organizations resources.
Max Weber also gives purposely impersonal as another feature of the theory of bureaucracy. It is mainly concerned with the relationship between the employees and the organization’s customers. It states that all staff and clients should be treated by the same token with no influencing factors whatsoever. Lastly the career paths in a bureaucratic organization are clear.
This meant that when one is employed in an organization becomes part of the organizations employee and it is seen as a lifetime career. Once the employee is elected or appointed he or she assumes job protection from uninformed removal from office.
This was seen to stop the tendency of leaders in the traditional system where they could dismiss or appoint an official at their own free will. It also gave officials a chance to grow themselves career wise in the organization. Rational-legal authority was also among the features of the theory of bureaucracy.
It deals with the rules and regulations governing those in office in terms of their legality and their command powers. The authority was no longer based on wealth of an official or their position in the organization or hierarchy.
Criticism of the theory
By the above principles of bureaucracy Max Weber aimed at achieving the best and competent results in an organization where it was adapted. However, for Weber all did not go well with his bureaucracy theory as he had criticism of his theory.
First there was the issue that it did not pay attention to human relations or the casual groups yet they form the back bone of business organizations today. It was also argued that the theory is suitable for state organizations or organizations that have changes at slow pace.
Critics claim that the theory is mainly concerned with rules and regulations which tend to be inflexible and unbendable. Communication between the different parties in the organization and coordination is also hampered by the inflexibility of the system.
Bureaucratic system is associated with excessive paper work and documentation which is seen as a waste of time and resources. The time and resources wasted documentation can be used in other important activities that are fruitful to the organization.
The long chains of command in the organization also make decision making cumbersome, tedious and difficult. This makes it difficult for the organization to make quick decisions that might have been beneficial to the organization if made at an early stage rather than making it too late such that the organization has already incurred losses.
The theory is more vigilant on the qualifications and remuneration of employees while it neglects the essence of devotion and obligation of the employees. It tends to rule out the fact that employees can be highly qualified and yet unproductive if not well coordinated and supervised.
In a nut shell Weber’s bureaucracy theory aimed at changing the way organizations were headed. The theory elaborated the chains of command and employee relation, conduct and employment strategies. This theory is highly effective as it tries to minimize the instances of abuse of office and also lays down the rules and regulations that govern the organization’s management.
Many organizations today still use this system and it has proved effective and successful despite the fact that they have to do one or two principles that hinder its effectiveness. Weber’s principle behind his bureaucratic theory was to minimize inputs and maximize output which is today’s dream of any organization that aims at making profits or achieving its objectives and mission.
My point of view on the Theory of Bureaucracy by Max Weber
This theory can be said to be a big achievement in the rapidly growing world despite the fact that it was introduced long ago. I concur with Max Weber that bureaucracy is one of the best ways of running an organization or enterprise.
This is because most needs of the employees are catered for if not all. The creation of specialization of duties as an operation management system is something that requires thumbs up for Max Weber. This is because specialization not only maximizes output but it also breaks the monotony thus increasing efficiency.
A comparison with other governing forms in organizations, bureaucracy stands at a good position of being chosen as the preferable mode of governance. In addition to this, it can be depicted that most organizations are operating in a very competitive environment and the theme of maximization of outputs has to be adopted if at all the organization wants to continue existing.
In order to achieve this, Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy has to be adopted. However, regarding this theory I would make recommendations especially in the areas where Max Weber was criticized. This is for instance, in the issue of paying close attention to the casual laborers who form the backbone of most organizations of the world. Making the rules a bit flexible is another thing so as to avoid same rulings year in year out.
Politics As A Vocation
Max Weber was a man of great and divergent ways as it has been previously mentioned. In addition to sociology and economics, he also had an eye on politics. As a matter of fact he was a chief campaigner of liberalism in Germany.
This was further affirmed when he released an article on ‘politics as a vocation’ a speech he gave during a lecture at Munich University in the year 1918. This speech was later published in the following year by Duncker and Humboldt both of Munich University.
Given the fact that Germany had lost in the First World War leading to a great political turmoil in the nation, psychologically prepared Max Weber that he would have to answer a couple of questions from his students during this lecture.
At the beginning of his lecture to the students, Max Weber cautioned them that the speech would disappoint them in a number of ways since their expectations would definitely be shuttered at the end of the speech. The article ‘politics as a vocation by Max Weber reviews what politics is all about as well as the general features that those who would like to take politics as a vocation should poses.
In the entire speech Max Weber talked about politics as a career choice and gave his point of view on the issue. He talked of politics being a form of legitimate violence that is characterized by people dominating others thus creating a state. In his description of legitimateness he gives three forms namely; charismatic, traditional and virtue of legality types of leadership (Weber 2).
This is to mean that in each and every society, the three types of political leaders will be represented. For instance, in his country Germany, Max Weber visualized that democracy meant that the political arena was made up by charismatic leaders who won elections in a perfect competitive election.
However, of all the three leadership styles, Max Weber advocated for virtue of legality as the best type of leadership to be used in most societies. On traditional leadership, which entails leadership running through the royalty or family chain, he commented that it was not a good type of leadership as the made leaders might not bear the required qualities hence poor management of the legacy.
The citizens of a traditionally led state are compromised to obey the rules despite their nature for fear of their lives (Weber 3). On the other hand charismatic leaders were very hard to find hence not preferable in addition to the fact that it led to poor management.
The citizens here obey the rules as a formality in order to preserve the merits of the positions in the society and politics. According to Max Weber, the state that is led by charismatic leaders is a perfect example of one made up of individuals who have politics as their vocation.
Max Weber further goes on to explain that politics is an art that involves compromising and making decisions that are meant to benefit the society. It is this that drives him to concluding that a political leader has to not only posse’s true Christian ethics but should marry ethics and responsibility.
He further explains that a politician should be passionate about his or her career so as to enable good service to the community. In the process of his lecture, Max Weber goes ahead to identify the three grounds for legitimate rule that a political leader must poses. The first rule is ‘custom’ which entails having authority or power over the past.
The ‘gift of grace or rather charisma’ is another ground for legitimate rule which involves being in authority over the revelations. Lastly, the ‘statues’ refer to the level of obedience or competence of the individual. Combinations of the aforementioned grounds of legitimate rule according to Max Weber lead to a successful political leader.
Centralization of the state
Further in the article of ‘politics as a vocation’ Max Weber identifies two forms of the state. The first type is one where the leader has a separate administration different from that of the people lower in his cadre. The staffs perform duties different from those of the ruler and act in two different worlds in terms of status, wealth and even possessions (Weber et al 4).
The other type is where the administrative staffs below the ruler act completely separate from the ruler in terms of the tools of administration. This is defined as the modern state since the administrative staff does not own wealth of the state.
In this context, Max Weber critically examines the theme of transition that is found in the society. He confers that there are governments where the administration is concentrated on one individual as depicted in the ancient mode of rulings.
In the modern sates as previously explained administrators are independent of the decision as well as the material things of the state. Max Weber gives real examples of states such as Britain, The United states of America and Germany to be modern states (Weber et al 3).
Calling in the context of Modernity
As he lectures, Max Weber introduces the idea of calling to be a significant factor in politics as a vocation. He analyzes the idea and concludes that that it what is required for the development of the modern world. This is because, those who have chosen politics as their vocation in life will be best suited to address the problems and situations of the modern society via their concept of calling (Rathe 1).
My point of view on this article
This article is with no doubt one of the most sterling articles to be written by the great intellectuals of that time. Other than just being a lecture to his students, Max Weber’s article on politics as a vocation is of significant importance to the entire society both of the ancient and modern times.
When he defines the term politics, he eases the tension and fear that most people have regarding the term. It is true that most nations have at one time encountered political turmoil in their nation or even the from neighboring states.
His explanation of political leaders educates the people on the right choice to make during the election of leaders so as to ensure good leadership and developments in their society. The entire lecture is composed of useful and educative statements that if taken into consideration would lead to a successful society. It is because of this reason that the lecture was later published by his mates at the Munich University.
From the above discussion it can be concluded that Max Weber was a person of great integrity. This is depicted by the theories he developed and articles he wrote on the fields of sociology and political economy.
For instance, his article on politics as a vocation gave an insight to the society on what politics is all about as well as advising on the qualities of political leaders (Rathe 1). Secondly, his theory of bureaucracy came as a big development to the society as it enabled maximization of outputs in a bid to earning huge profits.
Lastly but not least is the theory of economic history where he brought about the idea of capitalism as mentioned previously. All these articles and theories faced many criticisms from various scholars and individuals but somehow managed to be of importance to the society.
Camic Charles, Gorski Philips and Trubek David. Max Weber’s Economy and Society: A Critical Companion. Stanford University Press, 2005.
Rathe Brad. Politics as a Vocation. 2010. Web.
Roth Guenther. Max Weber: Family History, Economic Policy, Exchange Reform. 2002. Web.
Weber Max. Politics as a vocation. 1919. Web.
Weber Max, Owen David, Strong Tracy and Livingstone Rodney. The Vocation Lectures. Hackett Publishing, 2004.
Weber’s bureaucracy Expository Essay
Max Weber, who was a German scholar, was a known fanatic in the world of classic management theories. He was primarily interested in the reasons that orchestrated the actions of the employees, and the reasons behind the people of an organization accepting the roles accorded by their seniors and complying by them.
This research paper tries to indulge into the concepts that this theory portrays. First we look at the true meaning behind the theory. Weber in his research, made a distinctive analysis on the differences between authority and power.
In his argument, he portrays power as something that induces obedience or the power to accept commands through the art of force which forces the affected individuals to abide by the put rules and regulations (Hunter 154). On a contrary view, Weber portrays an authority as something that the individuals are already acquiesced to when exercised by their superiors.
This concept further looks into three different types of authority as portrayed by Weber. The first of this is the traditional authority which he defines as the authority which is readily acceptable and leaves no particular questions to the individuals since it comes from customs that are deeply set (Shavinina 11). An example of this type of authority is the monarchy.
Weber goes further to unfound a second type of authority which he refers to as the charismatic authority. This type of authority is gained or earned by individuals who exhibit the trust and respect required by their followers. The last type of authority is the rational-legal authority which comes from the main setting of an organization and the persons’ position while in authority.
This particular type of authority is practiced within the set procedural measures and the regulations of the organization in question.
The concept will further look into the major characteristics of bureaucracy. The first of these as coined by Weber is that it is a management by rules. A bureaucracy follows a particular set of rules that must be consistent in controlling the working mandates of an organization.
The hierarchy lower levels of an organization are controlled by the management by invoking regulations in a manner that is predictable and consistent.
The second characteristic is that of the division of labor where the authority and the responsibility are stipulated clearly and sanctioned in an official manner (Carmen 13). The lines of authority and the responsibilities are clearly stipulated in the job description.
The third characteristic as Weber epics is that its hierarchical structure must be formal. The hierarchical setting of an authority must follow a well set chain of command that efficiently disintegrates the lines and subordination of the lower levels to those of the upper level in the hierarchical setting of the organization.
The fourth characteristic is that the personnel hired should be hired based on the competence of their technicalities. Work in a particular organization should be based on the competence and the experience of that particular person.
The art of bureaucracy as defined by Weber has also the characteristic where the managers are salaried officials and own the whole unit of the administration. They control and define responsibilities as specialists (Keelson 17).
The last of the six characteristics as defined by Weber are those of the written documents where the rules and actions taken by the organization should be clearly put on paper, and clearly formulated and recorded.
These written documents will pose as future financial references that will enhance accountability of the organization and this will go a long way in ensuring that there is continuity in the procedures and the policies of the organization.
The following research is meant to develop an understanding on the notion of bureaucracy as clearly stipulated by Max Weber. In addition, the research is meant to look into perspective on the inward meaning of the values and core mandate on the word or the art of bureaucracy. The research will therefore evaluate on the intensity of Weber’s findings and ascertain a clear understanding on the matter.
The role of values
The role of values that fall behind the shaping of the research questions is through the notion that was formulated by Weber in his explicit indulgence on the matter. The values are orchestrated based on the art behind the theoretical explanation of the term Bureaucracy.
Research design and methods
The research method and design used by the research falls primarily on the law of presentation. The researchers emphasized mostly on the notions that had been put by other researches in the past and undertook a complicit comparison and contrasting on the theory stipulated by Weber to gauge on the accuracy of his theory.
The points stipulated in the past events were put down or rather written down on paper together with those of Weber and through an observation test the results were formulated where it rated positively on accuracy.
In conclusion, the research found out that the art of bureaucracy as stipulated by Weber bases its view primarily on the law of logic and the ration that gains ground through qualified specialists and well trained personnel. It offers a stable and definite hierarchical structure for a particular organization. Albeit this, the extent of the limitations of the theory needs a more concrete research.
Carmen, Reinhart. Max Weber Bureaucracy Theory. New York, NY: Princeton University Press, 2009. Print.
Hunter, Muller. Max Weber: On Bureaucracy. Journal on Bureaucracy, 19, 2 (2010): 153-166. Print.
Keelson, Gerald. Weber’s bureaucratic view. London: Cengage Learning, 2007. Print.
Shavinina, Larisa. Bureaucratic form according to Max Weber. London: Kidlingdon, 2003. Print.
Contributions Of Max Weber’s Bureaucracy To Public Administration Essay
This assignment is a discussion on the topic of bureaucracy as described by Max Weber. The discussion looks at the theory in general and its effects in public administration in terms of advantages and disadvantages. It will be argued in the discussion that the approach is characterized by hierarchical distribution of power and authority in both public and private sector organizations.
The major advantage is that it ensures that jobs are done only by those employees who are qualified to do them; that is, the employees are selected purely on merit. Its major short coming in public administration is that it is too rigid especially when it comes to making decisions. This delays the delivery of services as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of public organizations.
The Bureaucratic Approach
This theoretical approach was formed by Max Weber in 1947.The approach conceptualizes organizations as being guided by hierarchical chains of command, in which decisions are made based on the top down approach. Those who are at the top management positions are responsible for making the decisions while their juniors are responsible for the execution of those decisions.
In the hierarchy, each position is composed of specific roles and responsibilities as well as some amount of authority to make decisions or to command other workforce down the hierarchy (Rainey, 2009).
The approach conceptualizes organizations as being characterized by division of labor and specialization. Each position in the hierarchy is held by specialized individuals or bureaucrats who have acquired education and training on that particular position. The specializations are accompanied by some specific authorities depending on the position in the hierarchy (Shafritz, 2011).
The approach views organizations as being guided by formal regulations and rules which are formed and communicated well within the organization (Fry, 2008).
There are the rules of conduct in the work place which govern things like working hours, holidays, offs, the language to be used, communication protocols within the organization based on the hierarchy, and the communication channel regarding assignments for specific positions in the hierarchy.
These rules and regulations govern the procedures and the processes of the organization so as to give it an identity as well as stability and make it possible to predict the output of the organization because everything is planned in advance and followed to the letter without failure or compromise (Fry, 2008).
The approach views organizations as being characterized or guided by rationality. Employees are selected not on the basis of friendship but on merit and their qualifications. The approach does not encourage the mixing of friendship or family issues with organizational business. All employees are therefore selected in a transparent and competitive process which is free from any bias.
The same applies to employee remunerations. Each and every employee is remunerated as per his or her position, qualifications, and rank in the organization, meaning that those who are at the top get higher remunerations than those who are at the bottom in the hierarchy.
In terms of responsibilities, those at the bottom are more involved with organizational activities while those at the top are mostly concerned with policy issues and public relations activities and are less involved in the daily running of the organizations (Hamilton, 1991).
The approach recognizes positions in the hierarchy by their designations but not by the individuals who hold them. This is to say that there is no personification of ranks within the organization which ensures that authority is respected and reduces subjectivity as it increases objectivity in organizational undertakings.
This idea of addressing positions by their designations in the hierarchy also ensures that there is no conflict of interest or unnecessary arguments or exchanges between various officials in the chain of command, which in turn increases efficiency in the organizational business (Hamilton, 1991).
Advantages of approach In Public Administration
Bureaucratic theory is characterized by clearly defined rules and procedures in the work place. These rules make work easier for the employees because there is no ambiguity and therefore each and every employee is able to focus on his or her duties and responsibilities on the required time.
The clear chain of command also ensures that there is good communication because every employee knows where to receive commands from; which reduces conflict of interest between various levels in the organizational structure (Hamilton, 1991).
The recruitment of employee is also based on merit and professional qualifications which ensure that the correct people are employed for the correct jobs. This ensures that there is efficiency and high quality production in the organizations or businesses. The separation of employees’ personal issues and those of organizations makes employees focus solely on their duties and responsibilities (Naidu, 2005).
Disadvantages of bureaucratic approach in public administration
The theory has however been described by critics as being too rigid. It has also been accused of losing rationality especially in the issue of decision making, which its critics argue that it takes a lot of time before the bureaucrats in the chain of command procure a decision, which in turn compromises the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
Other critics argue that the approach tends to build empires within organizations which discourage creativity and innovations of junior employees thereby hindering organizational progress and growth (Hamilton, 1991).
Fry, Brian. 2008. Mastering public administration: from Max Weber to Dwight Waldo. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: CQ Press.
Hamilton, Peter. 1991. Max Weber: critical assessments 1, Volume 1; Volume 3; Critical Assessments of Leading Sociologists Series. New York, NY: Routledge.
Naidu, S.P. 2005. Public Administration: Concepts and Theories. Andhra Pradesh.: New Age International.
Rainey, Hal. 2009. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations; Essential Texts for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and Management. (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Shafritz, Jay. 2011. Classics of Public Administration. (7th ed.). New York, NY: Wadsworth Pub Co.