Bureaucratic Theory: Weber's Theory Of Bureaucracy

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1. Introduction Bureaucracy is the administrative structure and set of regulations in place to control (rationalize, render effective and professionalize) activities, usually in large organizations and government (Dimock, 1959). This has a long historical background both in Europe and in Asia. The term "bureaucracy" is generated from "bureau" and used since the early 18th century in Western Europe to refer to an office, i.e., a workplace. The term bureaucracy came into use shortly before the French Revolution in 1789 and from there onwards rapidly spread to other countries (Albrow, 1970). Political Scientists, Sociologists, Management professionals and Economists have involved in studies on bureaucracy extensively. Political scientists consider…show more content…
Public choice theories are concerned with bureaus and bureaucratic behaviours. They have the tendency of being individualistic, atomistic and economic in their assumptions. Organizational theory shows a preference for structure of holism and power. In the economic model of bureaucratic behavior within the public choice approach, it is assumed that economic incentives and constraints are what which matters, rather than the moral or intellectual qualities of public servants (Niskanen, 1973). 2. Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy Weber developed his theory of Bureaucracy on its structural basis. According to Weber, an organization has an authority, which is implemented by bureaucrats. The bureaucrats exercise their authority only because they hold public office. They exercise authority with well-defined rules & regulations. Therefore, bureaucracy is an organization, with well established rules, regulations, powers and functions. The following are the basic features of his theory of bureaucracy: • Bureaucratic organization is based upon a well-defined hierarchy. This hierarchy, based on authority, has trends in the downward direction. Authority flows from top to bottom as shown in figure…show more content…
• Bureaucracy functions in accordance with definite rules and procedures. The power and authority is well defined, to ensure impersonal approach. Authority brings corresponding responsibility. • Bureaucracy functions through appropriate division of work, where authority flows from top to bottom. • A bureaucrat should not misuse authority. Official business and private affairs should not be inter-mixed. • A bureaucrat is accountable for the use of authority. Max Weber also described some of the qualities that are necessary for a bureaucrat. Weber emphasizes the following characteristics of a bureaucrat: • A bureaucrat is appointed in an official position on the basis of contract. A bureaucrat is not committed to a particular person but only to the work concerned. • A bureaucrat exercises authority with impersonal approach. A bureaucrat should be ethical and faithful in the performance of duties. • A Bureaucrat should possess technical competence. • A bureaucrat should be paid an appropriate salary, other benefits and opportunities of promotion. Hence, Weber’s legal-rational model has the following important

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