Discuss Max Weber's contributions to organizational theory.
August 30, 2011 at 5:44 am #1156AakankshaParticipant
Discuss Max Weber’s contributions to organizational theory.August 30, 2011 at 5:45 am #9722ahwriterParticipant
A) Max Weber can be classified in the bureaucratic management branch of the classical school. Weber, the son of a prominent Bismarckian era German politician, was raised in Berlin and studied law at the University of Berlin. After assuming an appointment teaching law at the University of Berlin, Weber assumed teaching appointments in economics at the Universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Vienna, ending with his death after a bout with pneumonia.
Weber’s interest in organizations evolves from his view of the institutionalization of power and authority in the modern Western world. He constructed a “rational-legal authority” model of an ideal type bureaucracy. This ideal type rested on a belief in the “legality” of patterns of normative rules and the right of those elevated to authority to issue commands (legal authority). Weber postulated the rules and regulations of a bureaucracy serve to insulate its members against the possibility of personal favoritism.
Weber Believes All Bureaucracies Have Certain Characteristics:
a. A well defined hierarchy. All positions within a bureaucracy are structured in a way permitting the higher positions to supervise and control the lower positions. This provides a clear chain of command facilitating control and order throughout the organization.
b. Division of labor and specialization. All responsibilities in an organization are rationalized to the point where each employee will have the necessary expertise to master a particular task. This necessitates granting each employee the requisite authority to complete all such tasks.
c. Rules and regulations. All organizational activities should be rationalized to the point where standard operating procedures are developed to provide certainty and facilitate coordination.
d. Impersonal relationships between managers and employees. Weber believes it is necessary for managers to maintain an impersonal relationship with the employees because of the need to have a rational decision making process rather than one influenced by favoritism and personal prejudice. This organizational atmosphere would also facilitate rational evaluation of employee outcomes where personal prejudice would not be a dominant consideration.
e. Competence. Competence should be the basis for all decisions made in hiring, job assignments, and promotions. This would eliminate personal bias and the significance of “knowing someone” in central personnel decisions. This fosters ability and merit as the primary characteristics of a bureaucratic organization.
f. Records. Weber feels it is absolutely essential for a bureaucracy to maintain complete files regarding all its activities. This advances an accurate organizational “memory” where accurate and complete documents will be available concerning all bureaucratic actions and determinations.
Weber’s bureaucratic principles have been widely adopted throughout the world. Yet, there are many critics.
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