Max Weber's Theory Of Bureaucracy Analysis

2008 Words9 Pages
Adele Myers
Public Administration PA 4021
Politics and Public Administration

How did Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy have a major impact on the development of public administration systems? Illustrate your answer with examples.
German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) made a lasting contribution to organisation theory. His analysis of an ‘ideal type’ bureaucracy has been criticised and refined, but it remains the most quoted starting point for the study of large organisations, particularly in the public sector. The word ‘bureaucracy’ has many meanings, to political scientists it is a system of government by ‘bureaux’ of officials. To Weber the word refers to the structure found in modern large organisations,
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Critiques of bureaucracy include the ideal type is not the most adequate description of reality because of the lack of attention for informal structures and ways of working, the ideal type lacked attention for notions about goal decision processes and relations to the environment that the organisation is situated in and that the ideal type did not appreciate the possible antagonism between administration and authority. Examples of erroneous bureaucracy. Firstly, the ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster scenario which emphasised how the emergency response agency FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was unable to fulfil its remit because it was not adequately led or resourced. The result was delayed and inadequate responses to the hurricane damage/threat and this had serious implications in New Orleans. Secondly, the role of the Ombudsman in investigations of poor administration in public bureaucracies is highlighted. Secondly, Transparency in management of child protection services –Premature death of children in state care (reported in 2010) Foster care case: Ombudsman’s comments, June 2007 Emily O’Reilly highlighted case where 3 children in residential care were denied long-term fosterage. Mishandling of case due to “excessive bureaucracy”, “incomplete & erroneous information” (Connaughton, B.…show more content…
In conclusion, this essay has examined how Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy had a major impact on the development of public administration systems. Although Max Weber was pessimistic regarding the effects of rationalisation and bureaucracy on human life and freedom, he saw the disenchantment of the world that results from the ascent of science and rationalism and the decline of religious and mystical interpretations of human experience as expanding the capacity for human freedom and moral responsibility. Moreover, he saw agonistic politics as checking the power of bureaucracy. Consequently, despite the conflict between the politicised character of public administration and Weber’s views on the role of public administrators, his ideas on value pluralism and politics have important implications for public administration (Verhoef, 2015). Weber’s analysis of the social and historical context of administration and, more particularly, of bureaucracy ensures that he has made a substantial impact on the field of public
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