Max Weber Theory of Bureaucracy

Max Weber and Bureaucratic Theory of Management:

Max Weber was born in 1864 in a family of Textile manufacturers in West Germany. After completing of preliminary schooling in 1882, Weber studied Law at the University of Heidelberg. He also completed a doctoral programme in Law and his thesis was “A contribution to the history of Medieval Business Organizations“. He joined the University of Berlin as Law Instructor. In 1894, he became a professor of Law at the University of Heidelberg. In 1896, he accepted a position at the University of Heidelberg, where he studied Law in his studentship.

He wrote several papers on Law, focusing his attention on Social, Political and Economic factors of the nation at his time. He passed away in 1920, at the age of fifty-six. Weber wrote in German and his works were not known in English-speaking countries. In 1947, Oxford University Press published his book in English, ‘The Theory of Social and Economic Organization‘. With the availability of his other works, Weber’s familiarity as a scholar began to increase.

Characteristics of bureaucracy by Max Weber:

Bureaux means public office. The Bureaucratic Theory of management deals with the administration of public offices like Government, Defence, Church, etc. It is also applicable to business organizations, particularly those having complex organisational structures. Such types of organic and governmental, defence activities are present in almost all the countries in the world.

For administration of these offices, which are situated in a metropolis, urban, suburban and remote part of a country. There should exist a rational-legal path for their control. The persons working in these offices are recruited through competitive examinations. Weber was the first social scientist who made a systematic study of Bureaucracy and its characteristics.

Weber observed three types of authorities which guide the existence of an organization. These are:
1. Rational Legal Authority
2. Traditional Authority
3. Charismatic Authority

Weberian Model of Bureaucracy:

1. An official business is to be conducted on a continuous basis.

2. An administrator is to function in accordance with the rules stipulated. He is given such authority which matches his qualification and expertise.

3. Every official and every office is a part of the hierarchy of authority.

4. Administration is conducted on the basis of written documents.

Weberian Model of Bureaucracy:

1. Rules: The rules regulate the conduct of an office. The person who applies the rules should have specialised training.

2. Hierarchy of Authority: Hierarchy is the arrangement of position and authority from top management to the bottom level.

3. Record: All activities and decisions are recorded in the files.