Max Weber

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A SUMMARY OF MAX WEBER THEORY OF BUREAUCRACY

Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German academic and sociologist who provided another approach in the development of classical management theory. As a German academic, Weber was primarily interested in the reasons behind the employees’ actions and in why people who work in an organization accept the authority of their superiors and comply with the rules of the organization. Weber made a distinction between authority and power. According to Weber power educes obedience through force or the threat of force which induces individuals to adhere to regulations. In contrast, legitimate authority entails that individuals acquiesce that authority is exercised upon them by their superiors.

Weber goes on to identify three types of legitimate authority: Traditional authority – Traditional authority is readily accepted and unquestioned by individuals since it emanates from deeply set customs and tradition. Traditional authority is found in tribes and monarchy. Charismatic authority – Charismatic authority is gained by those individuals who have gained the respect and trust of their followers. This type of authority is exercised by a charismatic leader in small and large groups alike. Rational-legal authority – Rational-legal authority stems from the setup of an organization and the position held by the person in authority. Rational-legal authority is exercised within the stipulated rules and procedures of an organization. The Key Characteristics of Bureaucracy

Weber coined this last type of authority with the name of a bureaucracy. The term bureaucracy in terms of an organization refers to the following six characteristics: Management by rules. A bureaucracy follows a consistent set of rules that control the functions of the organization. Management control the lower levels of the organization's hierarchy by applying established rules in a consistent and predictable manner. Division of labor. Authority and responsibility are...
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