Max Weber was a German sociologist that studied a variety of human interaction and characteristics and developed a number of social theories. One of the highlights of Max Weber’s career work was his “five characteristics of a bureaucracy” theory. Weber defined a bureaucracy as having certain characteristics that make up the bureaucratic entity. A bureaucracy has a formal hierarchy. All decisions are made according to a specific set of rules. People are assigned particular tasks and work based upon their skill sets.The bureaucracy has a mission, whether it is to make money or realize another specific goal.
Everyone is supposed to be treated equally within the structure of a bureaucracy.Max Weber cited five major principles that combine to make a bureaucracy. The first principle is that there is a formal hierarchical structure, in which each level of operation follows the direction of the level above and influences the direction of the level below. The second principle is that the entity is operated under a specific set of rules and protocol that is supposed to be followed by everyone throughout the organization. The next principle is that the operation should be run by organizing functional specialties.
This means to place the right people in the right positions according to their skills and strength. The fourth characteristic is the mission of the bureaucracy. Weber described this mission as either “in-focused” or “up-focused.” An in-focused mission is a mission to serve the organization and those within it, while an up-focused mission’s primary purpose is to serve the stockholders or board directly in charge of the organization. The fifth characteristic of a bureaucracy is described by Weber as being purposely impersonal, meaning that everyone within the bureaucracy operates under the same rules and standards and everyone is supposed to be treated equally.