Max Weber Bureaucracy

August 17, 2017 Finances

Preliminary Exam Summary; Section: Organizations By Eileen Bevis CITATION: Weber, Max. Economy and Society. Edited Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. New York: Bedminister Press, 1968, vol. 1, Conceptual Exposition, pgs. 956-1005, “Bureaucracy”. ABSTRACT: The chapter on “Bureaucracy” is in vol. 3 of E&S, along with six other chapters on various types of domination, legitimacy, and authority. What you should know, context-wise: bureaucracy is the typical expression of rationally regulated association within a structure of domination. 1] This chapter is a schematic outline of the structural characteristics, origins (= necessary conditions), and effects of bureaucracy. Fully-developed bureaucracies are impersonal, “objective,” indestructible, indispensable, born out of inherent technical superiority, cause social leveling, and boost rationalism [among MANY other things]. SUMMARY: I. Characteristics of a Modern Bureaucracy, a. k. a. Modern “Officialdom” (956-958) A. Jurisdictional areas are generally ordered by rules = laws = administrative regulations (956). 1. Regular activities required by the bureaucracy are assigned as official duties. 2.

The authority to command the discharge of these duties is distributed in a stable way and is delimited by rules concerning acceptable coercive means. 3. The regular and continuous fulfillment of these duties is provided for in a methodical way. These three elements constitute: – a bureaucratic agency in the sphere of the state – a bureaucratic enterprise in the sphere of the private economy Bureaucracy is fully developed only in modern state or modern economy = capitalism. B. There is a clearly established office hierarchy system of super- and sub-ordination in which there is a supervision of lower ffices by higher ones and regulated channels of appeal (957). The fully developed bureaucracy is “monocratically organized” [ruled by a single person, such as a Prime Minister]. Ideally, the higher authority never takes over the lower authority’s business [bureaucracy would then ‘shrink’]; instead, lower authority’s offices will always be filled in the case of a vacancy [bureaucracy thus always and only grows larger]. C. Management is based on written documents and a staff of subaltern officials and scribes. The officials plus their “files” and materials make up a bureau.

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In principle, official bureau activity is kept separate from private home life [for relevance of this point, think $$] (957). D. Office management usually presupposes thorough, specialized training (958). E. Official activity demands full working capacity of the official in a fully developed bureaucracy (958). F. Management of the office follows general rules, which are pretty stable, exhaustive, and learnable (958). Knowledge of these rules constitutes special technical expertise. II. The position of the official within and outside of the bureaucracy (958-963) A.

Office Holding as a Vocation a. True because there is a required, prescribed course of training and exams which takes up full working capacity for a long time, has special exams b. Also true because position of the official is seen as a “duty”—official doesn’t own position, but rather agrees to fulfill “impersonal and functional purposes” of office in exchange for secure guarantee of existence. B. The Social Position of the Official a. The modern official always strives for and usually attains a distinctly elevated social esteem vis-a-vis the governed.

Officials have highest social position where there is demand for expert administration and there is a strong hold of status conventions/social differentiation (e. g. not in U. S. ) (959-60). b. Elected officials hold autonomous positions vis-a-vis their supervisors. Appointed officials function more accurately than elected officials because they’re been selected for functional ability. However, use of unqualified elected or appointed-by-elected officials usually backfires on party [except in Chicago?? ]. Fully democratic elections of administrative chiefs and their ubordinate officials usually endangers supervision of officials and precise functioning of the bureaucracy (961). c. The measure of ‘independence’ legally guaranteed by ‘tenure for life’ is not always a source of increased social status (e. g. socially-inept, independent judges vs. socially-ept and/because socially dependent because removable military officers in Germany) (962). d. Bureaucratic officials earn a salary, not a wage, and this salary is based on rank/status and maybe length of service, not on hours worked. They are also guaranteed a pension (963). e.

The official is set for a “career” up the hierarchy of the bureaucracy (up to higher officers, more important status, and higher salary) (963). III. Monetary and Financial Presuppositions of Bureaucracy (963-969) A. The development of the money economy is a presupposition of a modern bureaucracy [difficult to pay officials with “in kind” payments after a certain point], though historically there were large, well-developed bureaucracies that used in kind payments (Egypt’s New Kingdom, later Roman Principate, Roman Catholic Church, Chin post-Shi Hwangti until present) (963-64). B.

Various asides on how to turn ‘in kind’ payments into cash via one’s official position, why direct purchase of offices occurs (need not just cash but capital). One definition of word that Weber uses frequently: prebends and prebendal organization refer to all cases of life-long assignment to officials of rent payments deriving from material goods or land/rent, in compensation fro the fulfillment of real or fictitious duties of office (966-67). C. This bestowal of material endowments (aside from salaries), or further of political rights, to officials weakens the bureaucratic mechanism, especially hierarchical authority (967).

D. Status incentives and an assured salary, career track are superior to arbitrary, physical coercion (e. g. enslavement) for the success and maintenance of a rigorous mechanization of the bureaucratic apparatus (967-68). E. Bureaucracy is definitely tied to the availability of continuous revenues to maintain it. Such revenues come either from private profits, land rents, or taxation (968). Full taxation system presupposes money economy, so while not necessary, taxation system, its resulting administrative requirements, and prerequisite money economy are certainly helpful and conducive to bureaucratization (968).

IV. The Quantitative Development of Administrative Tasks (969-971) A. The first basis of bureaucratization is the quantitative and extensive increase of administrative tasks [the second? qualitative…just wait! ] (969). B. In politics, the big state and the mass party are the classic fields of such development (969). In particular, the large modern state is technically dependent upon a bureaucratic basis—the larger and more powerful the state, the greater such dependence (971). V. Qualitative Changes of Administrative Tasks (971-973)

A. The second basis of bureaucratization, the qualitative and intensive increase of administrative tasks, is also the more significant (971). Intensity: the assumption by the bureaucracy of as many tasks as possible for continuous management and discharge in its own establishment (972). B. The creation of standing armies, power politics, developing public finances, and more recently, the complexity of civilization have all historically contributed to the development of bureaucracy (972).

C. Economic: Increasing possession of consumer goods and of a sophisticated technique of fashioning external life affects the standard of living and increases subjective sense of indispensability of provision for wants that were previously unknown (972). (Also, economic ultimately determine cultural influences toward bureaucracy. ) D. Political: increasing demands for order and protection (police) exerts influence toward bureaucratization (972). E.

Technical: modern means of communication, spur direct growth of state administration because can only be managed publicly and spur indirect growth because contribute to development of inter-local goods traffic and to tempo of administrative reactions (973, 974). VI. The Technical Superiority of Bureaucratic Organization over Administration by Notables (973-980) A. “The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any other form of organization” (that would be collegiate, honorific, and avocational forms) (973) [contrast with Meyer and Rowan].

Bureaucracy has optimized precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of the files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs (973). B. Bureaucracy also offers unparalleled objectivity (discharge according to calculable rules and without regard for person) in the carrying out of administrative functions (975); this “dehumanization” increases as bureaucracy develops (975). C. With complexity, specialization, and objectivity come calls for a detached “expert” (975). D. Aside on Kadi Justice and Common Law compared to Roman Law.

Kadi justice consists of “informal judgments rendered in terms of concrete ethical or other practical valuations”; empirical justice, or common law, consists of formal judgments rendered by drawing on analogies and depending on and interpreting concrete precedents (976). Only Roman law consists of formal judgment rendered by subsumption under rational concepts or ‘rules of decision’ (976). a. Differences in the development of substantive law in Germany and England rest not on economic but on political factors—structures of domination (976). b.

Although technical factors of trial procedure contributed to development of rational law, it took bureaucratization of the polity to really rationalize Roman law into a closed system of concepts to be handled scientifically (978). E. Just because ‘expertness’ is valued doesn’t mean general and abstract norms rule (978). Everybody is attacking the idea of such a ‘law without gaps’ where there is no room for the creative discretion of the official, though they aren’t advocating return to Kadi justice but rather rational law where “objective” standard of “reasons of state” stands behind every administrative act (979).

Such raison d’etat is fused inseparably with instincts of bureaucracy for maintaining own power (979). Note also that rational law, in combination with democratic currents, doesn’t always turn out substantively for the democratic good and minimize domination (979-80). VII. The Concentration of the Means of Administration (980-983) The bureaucratic structure goes hand in hand with the concentration of resources, a. k. a. , the material means of management in the hands of the master (980, 982). A.

Historically, the bureaucratization of the army has everywhere occurred as army service shifted from the propertied to the property-less (happens as culture and economy develop and propertied men get too busy and unfit for war). With bureaucracy, armies were able to become larger, professional, and standing—either national or private (mercenary) (981). B. Similarly, in other spheres, including state and university, a bureaucracy puts its entire administrative expense on the budget and provides the lower authorities with the current means of expenditure, the use of which upper anagement regulates and controls (982-83). VIII. The Levelling of Social Differences (983-987) Although bureaucracy has “indubitable technical superiority,” its growth hasn’t been smooth. Helping and hindering influences to bureaucratization include: A. The leveling of social and economic differences contribute to bureaucratization. For instance as with modern mass democracy (because of characteristic democratic principle of abstract regularity of the exercise of authority, which is a result of the demand for ‘equality before the law’ and horror of ‘privilege’ and doing business ‘case by case’ (983).

Necessitates paid staff, this mass democratic state, btw (984). B. But democracy also inevitably comes into conflict with bureaucratic tendencies that were produced by democracy’s fights against nobles—democracy strives to shorten office terms and to have more candidate choices than only those with special expert qualifications, whereas bureaucracy likes closed groups of status officials that aren’t universally accessible and the authority of officialdom against public opinion (985). “Democracy” as such is opposed to the “rule” of bureaucracy (991).

C. By “passive democratization” Weber means a leveling of the governed; for examples of where it happened see 985-86 [only useable if you’re already familiar with those examples b/c no detail given]. D. Motives behind such passive democratization are economic (e. g. economically-determined origin of new classes) and/or political (e. g. foreign affairs) (986). E. Where older structural forms were already highly technically developed, bureaucracy was slower to develop because technically superior impetus was weaker (987).

IX. The Objective and Subjective Bases of Bureaucratic Perpetuity (987-989) Once fully established, bureaucracy is one of the hardest social structures to destroy (987). Bureaucracy is the means of transforming social action into rationally organized action and thus is a “power instrument of the first order for one who controls the bureaucratic apparatus” (987)…Still asking why bureaucracy has so much power?

Because “under otherwise equal conditions, rationally organized and directed action is superior to every kind of collective behavior and also social action opposing it. Where administration has been completely bureaucratized, the resulting system of domination is practically indestructible” (987). The individual bureaucrat is “chained to his activity in his entire economic and ideological existence. In the great majority of cases he is only a small cog in a ceaselessly moving mechanism which ascribes to him an essentially fixed route of march” (988).

Unless he is at the very top, he cannot start or stop anything. The ruled cannot dispense with the bureaucratic apparatus once it exists, for stopping it results in chaos (and the masses depend especially on the bureaucratic organizations of private capitalism for their material fate) (988). They cannot replace it easily because it “rests on expert training, a functional specialization of work, and an attitude set on habitual virtuosity in the mastery of single yet methodically integrated functions” (988).

Because bureaucracies are indispensable and impersonal, they are very easy to steer once one has gained control over them—even if the enemy takes over, it is in everybody’s best interest to keep the thing running—making “revolution,” in the sense of the forceful creation of entirely new formations of authority, more and more impossible (989). X. The Indeterminate Economic Consequences of Bureaucratization (989-990) The consequences of bureaucracy depend upon the direction which the powers using the apparatus give to it, though very often, “crypto-plutocratic distribution of power” results (989).

The economic effects of bureaucracy are varied, their direction depends on presence of other factors. The social effects, however, are leveling (990). XI. The Power Position of the Bureaucracy A. Being functionally indispensable does not necessarily translate into lots of power for bureaucracy. However, the power position of a fully developed bureaucracy is always great, under normal conditions “overtowering” because bureaucracy’s political “masters” face it as dilettantes to an expert (991). B. Bureaucracies are naturally secretive about their knowledge and intentions, whether out of functional or pure power motives (992-93).

C. The absolute monarch is powerless in the face of the superior knowledge of the bureaucratic expert, including the face of the prime minister, who represents the concentration of the power of the central bureaucracy in a single pair of hands in a constitutional government and who sees everything and controls what monarch sees (993). Only private economic interest groups in business know more than bureaucracies, because these groups have an added incentive for exact knowledge—economic survival (994). XII. Excursus on Collegiate Bodies and Interest Groups

Rulers seeking to fend off domination of experts will sometimes turn to formation of “collegiate bodies” that deliberate and resolve continuously (rather than occasionally) and that are clearly under rulers’ authority [i. e. , ruler doesn’t have to listen to them], unlike bureaucratic experts. The ruler gains needed expert knowledge and yet plays the experts off each other so they don’t gain power to prompt him into ill-advised decisions (995). “Collegiate bodies, as a type, emerge on the basis of rational specialization of functions and the rule of expert knowledge.

On the other hand, they must be distinguished from” (1) advisory bodies selected from among private and interested circles, which are frequently found in the modern state and whose nucleus is not formed of officials or of former officials and (2) boards of directors as in joint stock corporations (996). “Collegiate administration disappears when, from the point of view of the ruler’s interests, a strictly unified administrative leadership appears to be more important than thoroughness in the preparation of administrative decisions” (997).

Spread from central to varied lower authorities (997). “Only with the bureaucratization of the state and of law in general can one see a definite possibility of a sharp conceptual separation of an ‘objective’ legal order from the ‘subjective’ rights of the individual which is guarantees, as well as that of the further distinction between ‘public’ law, which regulates the relationships of the public agencies among each other and with the subjects, and ‘private‘ law which regulates the relationships of the governed individuals among themselves” (998). Note: presupposes distinction between state/office authority and personal authority (998). ] XIII. Bureaucracy and Education A. Bureaucracy promotes a ‘rationalist’ way of life, furthering the development of ‘rational matter-of-factness’ and the personality type of the professional expert (998). B. One of the important effects of A. is on the nature of education and personal culture a. the system of rational ‘examination for expertise’ is brought to the fore with modern bureaucracy (999) b. uch examination systems conflict with democratic fears of a privileged ‘caste’ (here, of experts) (999) c. this development is greatly helped by the social prestige of educational degrees/patents acquired through such specialized exams, prestige which can be turned into economic advantage (1000) d. demands for the introduction of regulated curricula leading to special exams have much more to do with limiting supply of qualified candidates than with belief in education (1000).

Such acts lead to formation and perpetuation of a privileged stratum in business offices and public service (1000-01). C. The “cultivated man” was the old ideal; in modern bureaucracies, the “specialist” rules (1001). XIV. Conclusion “The bureaucratic structure is everywhere a late product of historical development. The further back we trace our steps, the more typical is the absence of bureaucracy and of officialdom in general.

Since bureaucracy has a ‘rational’ character, with rules, means-ends calculus, and matter-of-factness predominating, its rise and expansion has everywhere had ‘revolutionary’ results, in a special sense still to be discussed, as had the advance of rationalism in general” (1002). RELEVANCE: ———————– [1] The others: traditionally prescribed social action is typically represented by patriarchalism; charismatic structure of domination rests upon individual authority which is based neither upon rational rules nor upon tradition (954)


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