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Max Weber's Philosophy of Bureaucracy and Its Criticism

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Abstract

This article aims at the investigation of rationality structure found in Max Weber's Philosophy of Bureaucracy. Developed countries consider Rationality in different forms, and one of its main proofs is Bureaucratic organization. Weber puts emphasis on rational action which targets goals. In modern societies, human behaviors are not under the influence of traditions, but Rationalism governs them. Rationalism in western societies is pertaining on implements and is by formal nature which means a kind of Rationalism which applies most suitable and proper tools for reaching rational objectives. Western nations employ appropriate tools for targeting goals in an efficient manner, and that sort of rationality aims at goals in its broad sense. Without taking up a position toward vice & virtues, Weber points to rationality in his sociological analysis. However, implementing rationalism is not sufficient for fulfilling human beings and society's prosperity. It relies on the fact that applying rationality plays a vital role in meeting people materialistic requirements. And one knows that he must not restrict to worldly and earthly needs. Among problems and the consequences of implementing rationality is the result of the world becoming absurd. Therefore, in this article, we try to answer the questions about rationality in Max Weber's sociological philosophy, its meaning & characteristics. Does the so-called rationality fulfill required needs?
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International Journal of Scientific Management and Development
*Correspondent Author : Fatemeh Sadat Aboalmaali
E-mail : aboalmaali6@gmail.com
International Journal of Scientific Management and Development ISSN:2345-3974
June 2016, Vol.4, No.6 pp:214-220
Research Paper Max Weber's Philosophy of Bureaucracy and Its Criticism
Karamollah Daneshfard1, Fatemeh Sadat Aboalmaali *2
1.Member of Faculty of Islamic Azad University, Science & Research Branch of Tehran, Associate Professor.
2.Public Administration Ph.D. Student at Islamic Azad University, Science & Research Branch of Tehran.
Available online at: www.IJSMD.Com
Received 17th January 2016, Accepted 9th March 2016
Abstract
This article aims at the investigation of rationality structure found in Max Weber's Philosophy of Bureaucracy. Developed
countries consider Rationality in different forms, and one of its main proofs is Bureaucratic organization. Weber puts emphasis on
rational action which targets goals. In modern societies, human behaviors are not under the influence of traditions, but
Rationalism governs them. Rationalism in western societies is pertaining on implements and is by formal nature which means a
kind of Rationalism which applies most suitable and proper tools for reaching rational objectives. Western nations employ
appropriate tools for targeting goals in an efficient manner, and that sort of rationality aims at goals in its broad sense. Without
taking up a position toward vice & virtues, Weber points to rationality in his sociological analysis. However, implementing
rationalism is not sufficient for fulfilling human beings and society’s prosperity. It relies on the fact that applying rationality plays
a vital role in meeting people materialistic requirements. And one knows that he must not restrict to worldly and earthly needs.
Among problems and the consequences of implementing rationality is the result of the world becoming absurd. Therefore, in this
article, we try to answer the questions about rationality in Max Weber’s sociological philosophy, its meaning & characteristi cs.
Does the so-called rationality fulfill required needs?
Keywords: Rationality, Bureaucracy, Max Weber
Introduction
The Modern era is a transitive phase from a pre-modern
time of traditional systems of governing societies to a current
government and ruling organizations utilizing modern
institutions which manifest in a Bureaucratic way. Inclusive &
increasing influence of governments in the form of
Bureaucracy is a phenomenon which one can see in all
countries, and no one can omit the power. However, it can be
restricted to an extent (Evans, 2001). While entering 3rd
millennium, management as a comprehensive procedure is
casting its shadow on all political, economic, social & cultural
units and understanding Bureaucracy for recognition of
relationships governing societies is an essential factor.
Although, many people paradoxically sanctified Bureaucracy
or considered inauspicious as a barrier against social
evolutions and developments. However, one can regard
Weber’s paternal house as a starting point for the relationship
between Max Weber & Bureaucracy. His attachment to
Bureaucracy is due to his father, fondness of Bureaucracy
(Ritzer, 1995). For an understanding of Max Weber’s
conception about Bureaucracy, one must comprehend his
views toward Western history as a ground of modernization.
By accepting evolution (Social Darwinism), he considered the
development and growth of history and modernization
technical rather than organic. He portrayed government and
rational Bureaucracy as a mechanism, a machine or a system
by applying mechanical metaphors. From Max Weber’s
viewpoint, Modern Bureaucracy is the soundest technical
implement which is inevitable (Sager 2009).
Weber claimed that without western societies become
bureaucratized, capitalism economies could not be organized.
Rationality and disenchantment are among the main features
of bureaucracy and experts regard them among modernity’s
characteristics. It is a procedure which will expose all of the
humanistic relations to analysis, reckoning & management.
This route is a constant movement toward restriction of
magical, supernatural & mythical beliefs and developing
rational thoughts w hich are predictable and systematic for
describing & explaining phenomena which experts labeled
them as the rationalization by Weber.
Max Weber was among political & sociological intellects
who described the motions of Power, Authority & Legitimacy
in three different societies of “Tradition”, “Charisma” &
“Bureaucratic”. Regarding the sphere of the community, he
believed in four types of social actions which include
“Purposive Rational Action," “Valuating Rational Action,”
“Traditional Action” & “Emotive Action” (Aaron,1984).
Based on the evolution of thoughts in western & occident
thoughts, especially after the Renaissance and denying
celestial & the intuitive power of intellect, the modern world
& conceptual reasoning come into existence. As a result, in
the contemporary world, implementing rationalism is
considered a priority & virtue. Implementing it targets human
being’s domination of nature. Based on this approach, Francis
Bacon quoted in his book “Novum Organum”: “A wise man
will make more opportunities than he finds”. (Parsania,1995).
Weber’s Bureaucracy includes traditional thoughts for
managing governmental affairs which fully rely on “elements”
of reforming national issues (Tompson, 2005). Weber sees
Bureaucracy as an inevitable system which is among most
persistent institutions, and they destroyed them after their
formation process. He believes that the future is for
Bureaucracy, and it would be immortal. Nowadays, one can
see societies more Bureaucratic than Weber was thinking
about them (Ritzer, 1995).
Bureaucracy is an organizational form of implements
rationalism. In this way, the goal is to fulfill requirements
economically as fast as possible. While in applying reasoning,
there is no place for objectives, values, and measurement of
their criteria, in Bureaucracy, values and goals were defined
beforehand in the same way. Bureaucracy aims at targeting
goals in its most efficient manner in forms of procedures,
structures and instructions.
Studying & researches conducted in the social sciences are
far from those are done in the natural sciences domain.
Studying social phenomena’s structure has always
preoccupied scientists working in the social sciences sphere.
Lack of unanimous acceptance over methods of studies among
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scholars is one of the differences between social sciences and
natural sciences. Experts manifest it while studying
“Bureaucracy”, and one can observe the difference between
interpretations of authors working in the fields of social &
physical sciences as well (Quoted by Faghihi, 2010). From
Weber’s perspective, Bureaucracy is a form of the ideal
organizational plan which consists of legal authority,
hierarchical discipline, performing based on evidence,
separation of job & life affairs, professional training, full-time
employment and observing rules (Delfam, 2000). However,
today’s manifestation of Bureaucracy is a kind of sickness
which infects mega organizations (Ball, 1993). This fact is due
to a misunderstanding of the phenomenon of Bureaucracy
(Jarrel, 2007). Regarding questions mentioned in the study
abstract, our goal is to investigate rationalism from negative &
positive aspects and criticizing Weber’s Bureaucracy.
Therefore, various dimensions of rationality in Bureaucracy
presented by Weber have been analyzed and studied for
responding to the questions mentioned above.
Rationality in Max Weber’s Philosophy
The notion of rationality in Max Weber’s theory seems
ambiguous and complicated. Weber considered rationality as
the main characteristic of a modern society and believed that
the more current becomes a society, the less will be the
influence of religions on those given communities. However,
this will not lead to the destruction of religions. Weber
believed in various kinds of rationalism and rationalization of
beliefs played a key role in the advent of modernism.
However, what does he exactly mean by reasoning in his
social philosophy? He put emphasis on rationalism meaning
from various aspects, dimensions. One can define Rationalism
can be as “Reaching an objective in a systematic way and
employing precise computations of implementing needed for
desired goals.” Or it can be merely “disciplined management”.
Rationalism in this sense manifests particular method applied
in occidental culture and civilization against a kind of change
happens in oriental culture. From Weber’s perspective,
Occidental culture has been more rational than its counterpart
regarding approaching its goal in different domains of life and
working. Mostly, it seems he had been thinking about the
scientific approach and its disciplined method through
technology. He believed in the difference between extrinsic &
intrinsic reasoning. Rationalism in its inherent meaning relies
on shared beliefs of the people living in societies. He defined
four arguments of practical, theoretical, intrinsic & extrinsic.
For discussing capital production, Weber applied
implementing rationality and defended it. However, in another
dimension of criticizing capitalism, with criticizing
implementing rationality, he supported rationality on values.
He believed that implementing rationality had influenced
human societies in the course of history. They had fulfilled the
type of rationality in paradigms of social, economic, legal &
capital institutions. He did not limit rationality to the modern
era in Western civilization. He rejected all theories which
viewed rationality as a one-dimension feature and Marx’s
emphasis on the economic factor as a cornerstone for an
evolution of societies.
Weber authenticated rationality on values and believed that
who are hopeful of the capitalist economy, liberal politics and
rationality to rescue human kinds are wrong, and he sought an
alternative way. He put emphasis on religious faith & morality
and believed: “If values become restored, human life will
survive from this condition. However, there is an important
question in here: “What are these values?”. It seems the values
require theoretical bases and epistemology. In other words,
theoretical rationality is a means to demonstrate values and
goals. Theoretical rationality tries to govern nature
intentionally and defines spiritual issues through abstract
notions. Pointing to this kind of rationality, Weber reminded
us witches, leaders, moral, religious monks, philosophers and
people who do contemplate on supernatural things and on the
contrary to implement all rationality this type is on the
Implement-Goal feature. And finally, extrinsic rationality
deals with computations based on Implement-Goal feature
with a view toward general rules and regulations. However,
computation is not oriented to individuals’ features, but it
inclines toward general requirements. Weber made a
distinction between intrinsic & extrinsic types of rationality
and expressed his idea that computations made by the first
word may seem extrinsically rational, but they do not
necessarily result in inherent rationality and may not require
all society’s needs. Extrinsic rationality does not deal with
values. However, the inherent rationality type comprises
values (Weber, 2005). Different levels of rationality have been
divided by Weber into three separated fields as follows:
Rationalization of Knowledge & Wisdom
At the first stage, human beings’ recognition of himself,
the world, God and other metaphysical issues will be
rationalized. Conceptual interpretations of human and the
world which will legitimate people’ appreciation of the world
will provide meanings for his goals and objectives. The fact
demonstrates moral systems (Parsons, 2000). Firstly
rationalization means presenting human beings with an
independent view toward the material and interpreting natural
phenomena and events without referring to anything outside of
nature. Secondly, humankind restricts his/her knowledge and
recognition of the world to this earthly and material world.
When the world cut its cord from its origin and destination,
the only priority with is prominent is describing the present
situation of the world and things around. Beginning of the
rationalism of thoughts must track its origin in Greek
philosophy and hidden pure reasoning found there. Because
by presenting a rationalistic interpretation of the world,
religious and heavenly interpretations gradually faded. This
kind of novel thought soared by the advent of implementing
rationalism and novel scientific approach. Therefore, the
reasoning of ideas in the form of scientific, academic and
rational perspective toward the natural and human world and
putting aside anything else will be fulfilled. To sum up, the
rationalism of thoughts is a gradual experimental, implements
and rational substitution of religious and magical knowledge
and recognition (Soroush, 2002).
Rationalization of Society’s Normative and Intellectual
system
Normative system or the society’s established order is
another level to be influenced by rationalization (Weber
2005). The objective of this dimension of rationalization is
society’s intelligent system and cognitive goal; a system that
directs social and individual behaviors and brings answers to
its fundamental issues and existential dilemmas. Weber does
not consider secularism as the only contributor to the
rationalization of the intellectual order of the society and
thinks of the religion as a collaborator in this process. Weber
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believes that the primary objective of the prophets and
religious saviors was to rationalize the whole way of life.
Salvation religions are those that seek deliverance from agony.
The life will grow to a much more justified as the essence of
this agony is subtilized and becomes more fundamental; since
in this condition, bringing up a permanent haven against this
agony has been a prominent matter (Weber 2005).
Weber also spliced the concept of salvation with the
rationalization of life. Salvation is an old concept in nature, if
we consider it to be a form of deliverance from sorrow,
famish, drought, disease, and finally the agony and death.
However, this concept will gain its prominence only when it
provided a systematic and rationalized “visualization” of the
“world”. It became the representative of a significant stance
about the world since the meaning and quality sought by the
concept of salvation were related to an image of the world and
upholding of a position about that picture (Weber ,2005).
Weber considers the Renaissance as the peak of
rationalization. Brought up and nurtured by the religion, the
intelligent system and life order turned their back to their
mother and declared independence. This seeking of freedom
created new issues and difficulties as a result, and it couldn’t
be solved even by them; Weber rendered this issue as "Iron
Cage".
Rationalization of motivational commitments
Human notions of the world, not only affects society and
behavioral paradigms, but it also affects motivational
commitments and its different levels. In theory, the
motivational undertakings are about the assumption of the
reliability of intellectual knowledge while practically it is
about performing following that intellectual knowledge. Thus,
the rationalization of efforts firstly indicates to the
systematization of life design and human understanding of the
universe; the next step is the specification of human behavior
in this framework (Parsons, 2000). In other words, the
rationalization essence of motivational commitments is the
acceptance of rationality as a life guide. The fact is the most
important event in the streamlining of thoughts; since the
thought, rationalization in its most practical form resorts to
this logic that rationality can recognize the good or evil nature
of actions and leaves the right or wrong thoughts at our
disposal. It says that there will be no further need for a god
and religion, and if we only confide to rationality and deem it
sufficient our lives will be flourished, and no harm will find
us; whether it is against god’s demands or not. Thus settling
down by rationality would hold no detriment. Therefore, the
rationalization of thoughts means relying upon rationality on
all of the matters related to this world and life. So, resorting to
spiritual issues and religions, as a way of universal
understanding or personal rallying point, declines efficiently
and they reduced its domain, because the religious practices in
world matters, would not hold signifying importance as the
primary goal of life.
Weber considers the rationalization of cognition as the
most critical phase of rationalization that Western civilization
experienced for thousands of years and today it is often
assessed with a negative attitude. Weber’s intended denotation
of rationalization of wisdom is not about ever increasing
knowledge of the living conditions because our ancestors'
understanding of life tools and conditions were much more
extensive than ours. Thus, the rationalization of knowledge
means nothing but disillusioning any mystical and
unaccountable force from the world. In the past, the world was
a place of dominance for mystical powers such as ghosts, but
after the disillusionment, these forces have given their seats to
technical tools and calculation methods (Weber,2005). In
other words, Weber thinks of the new sciences and scientific
explanations taking the place of mythical accounts as the most
important application of rationalization of wisdom; it means
systematizing of the worldviews and religious beliefs and
denial of myths, superstitions, and fantasies. This rationalizing
category with a self-criticism agenda that aims to overcome
the contradictions seeks to verge to the worldly activities. So
Weber thinks that the rationalization that dominates the
sciences is not compatible with religious rationality, and the
first precondition of living following religion is to escape
scientific rationalization. The matter that magnifies this
conflict further is the empirical and rational knowledge’s
continual disillusionment. There are various definitions of
rationality, but Weber thinks of rationality as “the ever
increasing dominance over the reality and methodical
achievement of a meaningful goal with the help of appropriate
tools and calculations.” Weber considers the following as the
consequences of world’s rationalization:
1- Disillusionment of the world: the most general and
universal accomplishment of rationalization is the
disillusionment of the world. After considering the
disillusionment, we must seek a new meaning for life. So
Weber found the understanding of the sciences as the potential
factor that gives meaning to life. Because of the rationalization
dominance, all of the individual goals have lost their sense and
in the current situation, life goals reach the human mind in a
new way. The world’s disillusionment that stimulates the
search for meaning is a sign of its universal decree. The
positive opportunity gained by the help of the disillusionment
of the world is a “thoughtful and reasonable” approval of daily
life and its “requirements”.
Alignment of religion with the new world and
acquiescence with its requirements is a point that takes into
consideration by Weber. In this new situation, various areas of
life have taken shape that contradicts the religious
instructions. The conflict existing in the current situation has
made the religion to take back its initial claims and accede to
the requirements of the new world. This feature is a form of
methodological rationalization supervising ethical behavior,
which is present in all of the religions.
Weber thinks that the gods and the mystical forces of
nature first had a personal tone and were present in the context
of every creature. This personal feeling later elevated to other
impersonal thoughts and finally took the form of a
suprapersonal being. The other meaning arising from Weber’s
sentence is the fact the rationalization may not be able to
destroy the foundation of believing in God, but it can
disillusion it. God is not a creature that is out of human
understanding anymore, but it’s a creature that the intellect
could understand all of its attributes.
2- Relativism: According to Weber, the world is moving
towards rationalization and alongside this expansion; They
have pushed religion into an irrational territory. Following the
streamlining of human comprehension of the world and the
change in the way of living in the modern age, the life area is
broken into two rational and irrational territories. As a
consequence, the religion’s influence in human life decreased
and was pushed into absurd territory while logical system
gained dominance. As a result of disillusionment, the most
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sublime and ultimate values were set aside for people’s
general life and were sent into the territory of spiritual and
personal life. Some other religious forms of religions that
could bring together a broad populace cannot be seen anymore
unless in more personal and special occasions of life. In fact,
the rationalization knocked down the holy awning that once
embraced many aspects of life and led the social world to
multiple independent domains. In other words, following the
rationalization, firstly a fundamental conflict took shape
between holiness and unholiness in social entities. The social
organization is not involved in the religious activities and
professions as before. As the political power makes it a
distance from divine power, so does the society. The world of
living and working takes its distance from the prayers and
communication with a supernatural order. This gaining of
distances also manifests themselves in institutions and causes
them to lose their religious connotation. Secondly, in a secular
society, the interest in worldly affairs takes the shape of
religious and ethical pluralism. There is no moral unity present
in a secular society as it is a religious one. In spiritual and
moral levels exist a diversity in critical spirit and freedom of
thoughts and a variety of personal choice, segmentation of
religious affiliation, and various ethical stances is present; this
is the matter that keeps the modern society’s culture from
having the cultural unity of a religious one. One can find
different religions in such society; behaviors inspired by
various ethics and values, which leads to the creation of “sub-
cultures” which is more evident in this kind of society.
In other words, from Weber’s viewpoint, a multiplicity of
the social world and advent of independent institutions
resulted in disappearing the unity found in ancient world
based on its magical nature. Rational recognition and
domination of nature are on one side of the spectrum, and
mystical and spiritual experiences are on another side.
Inexpressibility of these kinds of spiritual experiences is also
present in our world which cleanses the existence of gods. In
fact, beyond this world, there is a spiritual and metaphysical
territory, and human beings are willing toward it. Where there
is an outcome of such concepts, each can try his/her best for
his/her salvation. When people try to rationalize their
perspective toward the world and regard it as a territory which
is governed by impersonal rules, the same phenomenon shows
itself along with a kind of wisdom. It is very natural that such
phenomenon is a fruit of wise and intellectual efforts done by
intellects who have tried their best to understand the world and
its meaning.
Weber stipulates that the conditions have divided our life
into separate territories, and different and special rules govern
each area. Therefore, he expresses his ideas about the
weakness of the power of intellect and science in the modern
world and believes that basically, science is not capable of
judging the vice and virtue. Because in this world, there are
different spheres with various values and some of them are the
entire paradoxical situation with one another. In the present
case, there is no absolute criterion for recognition of vice from
virtue, beauty, and ugliness and also sacred and earthly
phenomena.
An important matter that we must take into account is that
serving an ethical system and accepting an intelligent system
is something out of the boundaries of rationale and science.
Logic cannot tell us to serve which God; because “the life of
these gods and their clash falls under the control of destiny,
not science.” The only help that rationale can offer is to tell us
what matters are correctly present in various godhood
systems. Knowledge and logic cannot say any more to serve
which of the ethical systems. Depending on a person’s
ultimate perspective, only one of these systems is a righteous
one, and others are evil. The other point worth mentioning is
that the conflict between ethical systems is not temporary, but
a perennial matter and these systems are always in the clash
with each other. The battle between the gods is not because of
minor issues but stems from their natural differences. Thus, as
life goes on, so does the clash of the gods. To put it clear, all
of our perspectives about life are irreconcilable, and this is
why their fight would never reach a result. So, a fateful
decision must be made.
One should consider that in Weber’s idea, accepting any
ethical system, even a rational one based on an irrational
matter, because the basis of each person’s choice is a personal
criterion rather than a rational one. The different and various
ways that lead into a rationalization of life rely on irrational
assumptions that one must accept as “certainties.” In other
words, rationalization is not a product of a rational matter but
is born of a wrong one. Rationality had always sought the help
of magic and religion themselves to push them out of human
life. The irrational elements that had a role in the
rationalization of reality were always the focal points that
were used as havens by rationality in its constant struggle to
gain the values held by the supernatural system. The more the
world filled with irrationalism, the matter as mentioned above
magnifies further.
3- The Iron Cage: In Weber’s idea, rationalism is not
disruptive of individual freedoms, but provides the highest
level of it, because it makes human actions systematic and
predictable. Thus, rationalism is not problematic in this
respect. It is in two other ways; One should say that these two
aspects are complementary. The first aspect is the natural and
essential problem of rationality. Rationality, as a foundation of
order, cannot justify rational ideas, because it only studies the
relation between the end and the means of its achievement,
and does not give heed to the terms and actions. This fact is
what Lewit says, “The reality is primary and determinative.
Each example of rationalization is a foundation inevitable of
making irrationality” (Lewit,2006). Weber’s greatest fear was
the “iron cage” that he deemed it as a result of rationalization,
and he considered it in his best justification as a systematizing
process (Ritters,1995).
Max Weber’s Criticism of Bureaucracy
In Weber’s opinion, Bureaucracy is the form of ideal
organization that consists of legal authority, hierarchical order,
action according to observations and records, separation of
work from personal life, professional education, hiring full-
time employees, and abiding rules and regulations
(Deflem,2000). But, this form of realism has its kind of
conflicts in this particular model. For instance, bureaucracy is
considered as an organizational disease that suffers from
major organizations which one can characterize with an
enormous amount of paperwork (Balle, 1999). The
vulnerability of bureaucracy concept in its practical form does
not reduce its merits. It is our vision of this concept that is
wrong (Nikoo Eghbal,2012). Weber states that in a capitalist
society, a form of bureaucracy is present. Weber’s
conceptualization of capitalism and bureaucracy entitled as
“Mutual Supporting Structure”. Capitalism and red tape need
impersonal communications that one can find by abiding rules
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and regulations and ethical behavior to reach success
(Frie,1998).
Critical reconstruction of the bureaucracy and organization
theory starts with comprehension of the fact that human self-
actualization has more consequences than what economic and
rational pattern suggests it. It is of utmost importance that a
critical theory demonstrates that economic and sensible model
means does not encompass all of the human subjects, and the
included ones are not always the most important things. Such
theory has gathered different approaches to the organization
and bureaucracy together: the ability to promote the problem-
solving capacity in organizations with minimum human
material cost. But, its main difference with other approaches is
in the recognition of human psych’s different aspects that
don’t belong to an organization (Mirzaee Aharjani,2007). One
of the biggest problems of Max Weber’s social philosophy is
his emphasis on instrumental rationality. “Although Hume’s
and Weber’s rationality theory influenced the economy,
sociology, management and the methods related to decision
making, many of the great thinkers acknowledge its
shortcomings even by philosophers in that school of thought
(Legenhausen,2000).
Robert Merton, One of the critics of Weber’s bureaucracy
believes that observation of bureaucratic characteristics that
Weber considers the betterment of rationality and efficiency
stem from them could express the relationship between
irrationality and inefficiency. Merton concludes that
bureaucracy is sowing the seeds of its destruction. Max
Weber’s bureaucratic model is a point of discussion and
criticism. He considers an ideal administration to consist of
four main restrictions, which is illogical; ignoring the private
organizations, ignoring the significant role of human relations,
consideration in organizations and its threat to democracy, and
the American way of people’s role in governing.
Although Weber praised the rationality of bureaucracy and
deemed it as the most efficient form of an organization, he
feared that it would become a tool for domination and a threat
to democratic foundations (Cook 2004). Many rules and
regulations are existing in an organization that no one
followed, and if followed, it is not for the sake of the rules
themselves, but for the fear of punishment. Documentation of
organizational experiences is not something to be emphasized
on, and there are no records based on people’s job
performance. Knowledge management is a formal matter and
topics related to knowledge management remain at an archival
report level. There are no suitable career descriptions for the
employees, and if available, they are timeworn and often not
followed. Of course following such old and not updated job
stories would not be of any help. Following and upholding of
the rules and regulations are more common in employees with
lesser educations and management experiences, yet people
with higher learning and expertise tend to support the rules
more inferior. This fact happens while the latter group should
be a role model for the first one (Faghihi and Danayi
Fard,2010).
Max Weber, the German sociologist, in all of his life,
career life (as an academic researcher) was concerned with the
matter of evolution of rationality in Western civilization.
Weber’s studies in this case throughout his life disclosed not
only the complexity of his background and records but also
revealed the uncertainties of his achievements. There is no
doubt on Weber’s commitment to the ideals of rationality,
freedom, and enlightenment age, and his researchers left no
doubt that rationality and liberty in the west are in danger
(Benedics,2009). He sees the complete actualization of
rationalism in bureaucracy and capitalism. Although the
administration has sometimes shown up in the non-western
civilization such as China or ancient Rome, Weber
demonstrates that bureaucracy emerges only when
professional employees have their salary in monetary forms
and not as privileges that turn them into independent,
influential owners and capitalists. Such happens only when the
market relations have grown so fast that the employees get
their salaries in the monetary form in agreement with a
coordinated system. Weber claims that such bureaucracy and
market relations image are only available in contemporary
Europe (Benedics,2003).
Among the classics, Weber addresses the rationality in
everyday life. He wanted to create an entirely rational
organization, and his bureaucracy theory based on thoughts
related to power and authority. In a red tape, one is dominated
by organizational rules and regulations and because of the
existence of predetermined frameworks, it is easier to
anticipate one’s behavior.
When a society moves towards complexity, division of
labor occurs inevitably because of the specialization of skills
and people will need each other according to their
qualifications. Together, these factors need rules and
regulations to be executed and accelerate the growth of
bureaucratic organizations.
In Weber’s opinion, the goal-oriented rational act is
increasingly surrounding our lives. Instrumental rationality
and bureaucracy are covering all of the aspects of our lives.
Modernism and red tape have an inherent bond.
Administration limits one’s freedom and it is in conflict with
democracy. All of the society talk about democracy, but it is
the bureaucracy that is present. In a democracy, personal
freedom and recognition individuals’ rights are the main
topics, but what happens in a bureaucracy is the deprivation of
liberties and humans are treated as machines and are bound to
regulations. Development and more incomes lead the societies
towards rationalism. Bureaucracy is the fruit of this
rationality. Rationality is against the individual liberties, yet it
is in alignment with progress and development. If a society
moves towards rationality, then human dignity and family
stability will become unstable, yet the collapse of the family
foundation is against rationality; bureaucracy is the result of
the same rationality.
Experts have defined implementing & extrinsic
rationalities regarding our actions for human achievements.
Categorization, standardization, and defining procedures have
come into existence with the advent of modernity. One of the
aspects of implementing rationalism is categorization and
among the bureaucracy’s features, one can regard controlling.
Postmodern society is a type of society in which each tradition
and culture do exist, and they segregate communities . In a
bureaucratic society, actions do rely on undefined rules and
regulations. Weber has described both negative and positive
aspects of bureaucracy. However, the main point to consider is
that nowadays, the negative aspects are more dominant than
their positive counterparts. Experts regard administration as a
blamed issue in the eyes of ordinary people, and they all
believe that it is a kind of the waste of time.
The following instances are criticisms of bureaucracy:
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June 2016, Vol.4, No.6, pp:214 -220
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International Journal of Scientific Management and Development
_ Based on Weber’s model, bureaucracy is the most extended
set of rules and regulations which manifest itself in all
assumptions on the design. However, the point is that
excessive observing of norms and standards will inevitably
result in deviations of goals. Reciprocally, free interpretations
and excessive relying on innovations for understanding the
rules spirit and not its external and extrinsic form may result
in abusing the rules, and it is a condemned issue (Nikoo
Eghbal,2012). In fact, rules and regulations are valuable only
when they are for fulfilling goals. One must not substitute
goals with instruments (Simon, 1961).
_ Bureaucratic approaches are slow at pace and result in
postponement at decision-making and performing based on
them.
_ Bureaucratic organizations lead to a kind of inflexibility and
reduce efficiency and individuals refer to high officials for
eluding decision-making procedures and do not accept
responsibilities.
_ Employees postpone clients’ works, while they can fulfill
their requirements in a short period. However, employees
oblige themselves to their works, by observing rules and
regulations, and they do prolong clients’ works. However,
they do know that it is not necessary to administer many of
these rules and regulations.
_ All official activities of the organization are being
performed in a written form. This fact would lead to waste of
time and human resources along with slowing the pace of
events and finally result in other problems. One can label
these unnecessary & complicated formalities under the title of
“Red-Tape”. (Ghannadan,1995)
_ Imposing power for putting emphasis on disciplines would
persuade subordinates to hide defects for attracting bosses’
attention while performing activities. Therefore, incomplete
information shall pass to those high-level authorities. Finally,
this would lead to decreasing the organization’s proficiency
(Sabouri Kashani,1994)
_ Faiwell, Taylor & Weber unanimously believe that the
official body is accepted, and personal relations are contrary to
order and are detected. However, nowadays, excessive
controlling is denied due to wasting time and increasing the
number of employees.
_ Authority in this field results in inefficiency. It is because
high-level officials try to plan a sketch in which employees
impose power. On the other hand, other individuals are
superior to this senior management, and they must observe
rules for them. This kind of cycle will decrease the system’s
efficiency.
_ Weber’s emphasis on impersonal or formal relations is a
direct criticism of “Nepotism” which was very current in his
era. He put emphasis on defined rules and a real distance
between individuals for administering standards and
regulations and promotion and choosing employees based on
their competence and thorough testing. Critics believe that
Weber put excessive emphasis on official relations in
organizations and on the other hand, he did not mention
anything about personal relations in organizations which can
influence the flexibility of teams (Sabouri Kashani,1995)
Nepotism is an issue which can be observed a lot in most
organizations. When a blamed activity happens in an
organization, gradually, it will become an ordinary and usual
matter. Nowadays, nepotism in official and unofficial
organizations becomes a standard issue, and people do not put
emphasis on qualification and competency.
_ In most organizations, rules and regulations cannot include
all statuses. Morton says: “Putting Excessive emphasis on
observing bureaucratic norms and individuals’ experience and
expertise results in the lack of flexibility.”
Bureaucratic inflexibility is enforceable by following rules
and regulations, and it is against organizations, promotions
and progress (Sabouri Kashani,1995).
On one hand, Weber considers bureaucracy as an inevitable
rational implement for new life conditions and on the other
hand, regards it as a living machine which making slavery
cages for the future. In fact, negative aspects of bureaucracy
from the viewpoint of Weber is more relevant than those
festive aspects in recent years (Irwing M,1994). Therefore,
“bureaucracy is a phenomenon which is experienced by all
people, and they talk about it every day. However, the
bureaucracy itself is making resistant against
conceptualization (Lu for & Castoridiadis,2010). The term
“Bureaucracy” mostly equals to negative concepts including
excessive formalities, redoing things, rigid and strict rules
governing official procedures, complicated and strict official
systems and hierarchical orders, slow pace of doing things,
focusing on decision-making, wasting time and resources, etc.
(Iran-Nejad Parizi, et al, 1994).
The bureaucracy has numerous meanings, and one can see it
from various perspectives. However, in Iran, people mostly
look at its negative dimensions. Wasting time and resources
and prolonging issues are among those factors which have
made negative views toward bureaucracy.
“When bureaucracy is fully developed, it would be entitled to
the principle of non-bias. And whenever, in its particular sense
which is more favorable to capitalism develops, then it will be
far from humanistic values. This one is the feature which is
special to capitalism that one may praise it as an exceptional
virtue (Weber, 2008: 246). Bureaucracy is of rational nature. It
means rules, regulations, implements, goals, and realism are
governing it. Therefore, in all cases, the advent of bureaucracy
and its spreading will bring about a revolutionary result; a type
of results which has primarily brought about the promotion of
rationality (Weber, 2008, 277).
Conclusion
One of the primary objectives of this research is to study
current Iranian bureaucratic features by putting emphasis on
measuring structural dimensions found in it. A political
regime is infertile without bureaucracy, whether it has its
political philosophy or it enjoys any doctrine for reaching its
desired goals. The existence of each political system relies on
the bureaucratic structure. Bureaucracy is the starting point
towards the empirical research about the organizations.
Theorists unleashed various groups with different levels of
Weber's ideal model. They were different and acted
differently. Present time's teams, in the post-modern period of
bureaucracy, is diseased and old, and all of the hard-working
employees have given their place to fancy machines. There are
many rules and regulations in a bureaucratic organization, but
the main point is that the senior section of the body makes
these laws for the lower positions. It means that these rules
bind not all of the people .If a family system is present in the
organization, there is no need for them to abide by this
regulation. But if someone does not belong to this ring, he or
she is actually in lower position. Thus, he or she must observe
the laws and tolerate the time-consuming process. There are
many rules and regulations in a bureaucratic organization, but
International Journal of Scientific Management and Development ISSN:2345-3974
June 2016, Vol.4, No.6, pp:214 -220
220
International Journal of Scientific Management and Development
the main point is that these laws are made by the senior
section of the body for the lower positions. It means that these
rules bind not all of the people.
Weber feared the thought that someday, the rationality that
dominates the humans external affairs, would bring their souls
in service of total technical rule-oriented bureaucracy. He
conveyed this concern, especially in socialism, which is
seeking to bring all of human life under the wings of the
administration . One can say that the government cannot exist
without bureaucracy. The government is considered a power
for its existence. It came to life for devastating wrong
phenomena. However, the administration became convicted
for them. The nature of bureaucracy is “Expertise,
Competency, & Rationality”. However, among negative
features found in organizations, is following politics, but not
bureaucracy itself. There is no problem with bureaucracy
itself. One of the most important aspects which Max Weber
put emphasis on it, and we have investigated it in this study, is
of various types of bureaucracy. He believed that
implementing rationalism was the primary factor for the
growth of the Western countries. However, instrumental
rationality is not sufficient for society and human welfare and
happiness, because the role of instrumental rationality is only
in the providence of humanity's material needs. A person is
not bound and defined by material progress and material
needs. People also have spiritual needs and his perfection is
linked to the satisfaction of both physical and spiritual needs.
Also, instrumental rationality only chooses the best ways to
reach the goals, yet it is unable to determine the goals. Thus, it
cannot play a role in determining of ends. The study’s
conclusion indicates that Iranian bureaucratic structure is far
from the traditional rational model presented by Weber
regarding hierarchical features and expertise inclination. The
nature of bureaucracy is time-consuming, and it must be. No
one can regard this case as a negative point for red tape. For
instance, borrowing money procedure requires legal process
and taking the security. Whatever which is red tape for
violators of rules is an indicator of legal & reasonable
sovereignty. What is a subject of criticism is the
government's’ practices and those who consider the
government as a problem, do not comprehend the philosophy
of bureaucracy? Without administration, a government cannot
provide services or monitor different issues. In fact,
bureaucracy is a type of rational structure and practical
procedure for the state. Finally, bureaucracy is a supporter of a
country’s territory. One can regard administration as a key
factor in attracting people’s trust and fulfilling justice in
society.
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Article
Full-text available
I employ a theoretical framework developed on the basis of the writings of Max Weber to analyze historical developments in the formation of international police organizations. I rely on a comparative analysis of selected cases of international police networks and centrally focus on the most famous and enduring of such structures, the International Criminal Police Commission, the forerunner of the organization since 1956 known as "Interpol." Using a Weberian perspective of bureaucratization, I maintain that the formation of international police organizations was historically made possible when public police institutions were sufficiently detached from the political centers of their respective states to function autonomously as expert bureaucracies. Under such circumstances of institutional autonomy, police bureaucracies fostered practices of collaboration across the borders of their respective national jurisdictions because and when they were motivated by a professionally defined interest in the fight against international crime. In conclusion to this analysis, I argue for the value of sociological perspectives of social control that are not reductionist, but that instead bring out the specific socially and sociologically significant dimensions of control mechanisms.
Making bureaucracy work
References Aaron, Raymon, 1984, Fundamental Phases of thoughts in Sociology, Parham, Bagher, Enghelab-e-Eslami Publications, Tehran Benedix, Reinhard, 2009, Max Weber Thought Outlook, Translated by Mahmoud Rambod, Hermes Publications Balle, M.1999. "Making bureaucracy work," Journal of Management in Medicine, 13 (3): 190-200
Revising the bureaucratic ideal: the new left and the new public administration," dissertation for the degree of master of public administration, faculty of the department of political science
  • V M Cook
Cook, V.M. 2004. "Revising the bureaucratic ideal: the new left and the new public administration," dissertation for the degree of master of public administration, faculty of the department of political science, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
Mastering Public Administration
  • Fritz Sager
  • Christian Rosser
  • Reflecting Weber
  • Wilson Mansour
Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Reflecting Weber, Wilson, and Hegel: Theories of Modern Bureaucracy, Public Administration Review • November | December Fry, Brian. (1989). Mastering Public Administration. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, Inc Faghihi Abolhassan & Hassan Danayi Fard, 2006, Bureaucracy & Development in Iran, (Historical & Comparative Analysis), Tehran, Rasa Publications George Ritzer, 1995, Fundamentals of Sociology, Translated by Taghi Azad Armaki, Simorgh Publications, Tehran Ghannadan, Mansour, et al. (1996), Fundamental Concepts at Sociology, Avaye Noor Publication, Tehran Iran Nejad Parizi, Mehdi Parviz Sasan Gohar, 1994, Organization & Management from Theory to Practice, Iranian Banking Institution, Tehran
  • M Irwing
  • Zieteldin
Irwing M. Zieteldin et al, 1994, Future of Sociological Founders, Translated by Tavassoli, Gholamabbas, homs, Tehran Loufor, Claude & Cornelius Castoriadis, 2010, What is Bureaucracy? Translated by Amin Ghazaei, 1st Edition, Cheshmeh Publication, Tehran
Basics of Philosophy of Organizational Theory
  • Carl Lewit
  • Max Weber
  • Carl Marx
Lewit, Carl, Max Weber & Carl Marx, 2006, Translated by Shahnaz Mosamma Parast, Tehran, Qoqnoos Publication Mirzaei Ahranjani, Hassan, 2007, Basics of Philosophy of Organizational Theory, SAMT Publication Muzlis, Nikous, 2006, Organization & Bureaucracy, Analyzing Novel Theories, Translated by Hassan Mirzaei Ahranjani, Ahmad Tadayoni, University of Tehran Publication Max Weber, Economy, and Society, v. 1, p. 429
Bureaucratic Structure and Personality in Reader in Bureaucracy
  • Robert Merton
Merton, Robert. (1952). Bureaucratic Structure and Personality in Reader in Bureaucracy. New York: Free Press Thompson, Victor. (1961). Modern Organization. New York: Alfred A. Knopf
From Implementing Reasoning to Holy Thought, Reflection of Thought
  • Hamid Parsania
Parsania, Hamid, 2005, From Implementing Reasoning to Holy Thought, Reflection of Thought, October 2005, No. 66
  • Talcout Parsons
Parsons, Talcout, 2000, Logical Structures of Sociology of Religion in Max Weber's Outlook, Translated by Yadollah Moaghen & Ahmad Tadayon, in: Rationality & Freedom, Tehran, Hermes Publication Soroush Abdolkarim, 2003, Tradition & Secularism, Tehran, Seraat Cultural Institution, Fround Julian, 1984, Max Weber's Sociology, Translated by Abdolhossein Nik Gohar, Nikan Publications Sabouri Kashani, Manouchehr, 1995, Sociology of Organizations, Shabtab Publication, Tehran Langhawsen, Mohammad, 2000, Eghtetraah, Criticism & Perspective, Year 7, No. 1, Winter, p 81-4