Ideal type bureacracy
A bureaucracy is “a body of nonelective government officials” and/or “an administrative policy-making group.”Historically, bureaucracy referred to government administration managed by departments staffed with non elected officials. In modern parlance, bureaucracy refers to the administrative system governing any large institution.
The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is a key concept in modern managerial theory, and has been a central issue in numerous political campaigns.
Others have defended the existence of bureaucracies. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which human activity can be organized, and that systematic processes and organized hierarchies were necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency and eliminate favoritism. But even Weber saw bureaucracy as a threat to individual freedom, in which the increasing bureaucratization of human life traps individuals in an “iron cage” of rule-based, rational control.
The German sociologist Max Weber described many ideal-typical forms of public administration, government,and business in his 1922 work Economy and Society. His critical study of the bureaucratisation of society became one of the most enduring parts of his work.
It was Weber who began the studies of bureaucracy and whose works led to the popularization of this term. Many aspects of modern public administration go back to him, and a classic, hierarchically organized civil service of the Continental type is called “Weberian civil service”.
As the most efficient and rational way of organizing, bureaucratization for Weber was the key part of the rational-legal authority, and furthermore, he saw it as the key process in the ongoing rationalization of the Western society. Although he is not necessarily a fan of bureaucracy, Weber does argue that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and (formally) rational way in which human activity can be organized, and that thus is indispensable to the modern world.
Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge
Weber listed several precondititions for the emergence of bureaucracy. The growth in space and population being administered, the growth in complexity of the administrative tasks being carried out, and the existence of a monetary economy requiring a more efficient administrative system. Development of communication and transportation technologies make more efficient administration possible but also in popular demand, and democratization and rationalization of culture resulted in demands that the new system treats everybody equally.
Weber’s ideal-typical bureaucracy is characterized by hierarchical organization, delineated lines of authority in a fixed area of activity, action taken on the basis of and recorded in written rules, bureaucratic officials need expert training, rules are implemented by neutral officials, career advancement depends on technical qualifications judged by organization, not individuals
While recognizing bureaucracy as the most efficient form of organization, and even indispensable for the modern state, Weber also saw it as a threat to individual freedoms, and the ongoing bureaucratization as leading to a “polar night of icy darkness”, in which increasing rationalization of human life traps individuals in a soulless “iron cage” of bureaucratic, rule-based, rational control.
The ideal model of bureaucracy of Max Weber contains six components. These components are:
1) A formal structure.
2) Managed by rules.
3) Functional organization.
4) A focused mission.
5) All relationships are impersonal.
6) Employment based upon qualifications.
Max Weber was the first to endorse bureaucracy as a necessary feature of modernity, and by the late 19th century bureaucratic forms had begun their spread from government to other large-scale institutions.
The trend toward increased bureaucratization continued in the 20th century, and, in the modern era, practically all organized institutions rely on bureaucracy to organize tasks.