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Max Weber - His contribution to Administrative Science

October 05, 2011  by: raajh07  Points: 12   Category: Arts  Earning $0.40   Views: 988

The EXPONENT of the most important paradigm of bureaucracy in administrative sciences, Max Weber was born in Germany in 1864. He received his formal education in law. At the same time he did acquire simultaneously professional competence in the fields of economics, history and philosophy. He in his capacity was appointed as a professor and a government consultant.

         

Max Weber - His contribution to Administrative Science

The EXPONENT of the most important paradigm of bureaucracy in administrative sciences, Max Weber was born in Germany in 1864. He received his formal education in law. At the same time he did acquire simultaneously professional competence in the fields of economics, history and philosophy. He in his capacity was appointed as a professor and a government consultant.



Weber's primary interest was in the analysis of the development of civilizations. This is reflected on his studies of the sociology of religion and the sociology of economic life. He examined at length the major religions of the world such as Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism. He also analyzed different kinds of organizations such as economic enterprises, religious orders, governments, associations etc.
Max Weber analyzed the mechanism of power politics and examined the constitutional problems that his country (Germany) was facing. His ideas relate to the broad spectrum of social sciences. His contributions throw an invaluable light in the fields of authority, bureaucracy, economy, society, ethics and religion.

Contribution in the field of Administrative Analysis.



Weber's analysis in the realms of authority and bureaucracy stemmed from a basic concern with the question as to why individuals obeyed commands and why people do as they are told to do. To tackle this problem, Weber made a distinction between
1. Power = the ability to force people to obey regardless of their resistance and
2. Authority = where orders are voluntarily obeyed by those receiving them.

Types of Authority

Max Weber's most widely and acknowledged contribution to social sciences has been the formulation of three pure ideal types of legitimate authority. Weber believed that the excise of authority was a universal phenomenon that characterized social relationships. The three types of authority systems are:
1 Charismatic authority,
2 Traditional authority and
3 Legal rational authority.

They characterize the relationship existing between the supreme ruler and the masses.
Weber classified authority on the basis of legitimacy because the type of obedience, the kind of administrative system and the ways of exercising authority depended on it.

Traditional authority

According to Weber "traditional authority rests on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and in the legitimacy of the status if those exercising authority under them." The leader in such a system has authority by virtue of the status that he has inherited and the extent of his authority is fixed by custom. The ruler is obeyed because the traditions so demand. An example of this can be seen in the tribal populations of India and the world, kings and the monarchs in some Arab countries. The administrative staff under such an authority system may be either patrimonial or feudal.
Administrative and managerial services in such type of systems are often handed down from father to son due to which selections and appointments are not based on merit.

Charismatic Authority

Charismatic authority is based on the personal qualities of the leader by virtue of which he is identified as different from the ordinary men. Such persons are treated as endowed with supernatural and exceptional powers or qualities. For example persons like a prophet a political leader or a movie star. Weber says that charisma lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Weber observed while referring to the administrative system under the charismatic authority that there was no separate administrative staff but only a group of followers and disciples who were given the positions based on their charismatic qualities. If the disciples or the followers observe a decline or failure of charismatic qualities in their leader they might abandon him leading to a break in the charismatic authority system. Therefore Weber suggested it to be institutionalized so that the authority may continue even after the charisma fades or the charismatic leader dies.

Legal Rational Authority

The third type of authority system proposed by Weber is the Legal Rational Authority. Bureaucracy forms the kernel of the administrative system. Obedience under it is owned to the legally established impersonal order that is the written rules and regulations. Weber claims this system to be the dominant institution of modern society. This system is called "rational" because in it the means are expressly designed to achieve certain specific ends. An organization is like a well defined machine where every part if the machine contributes to the attainment of maximum work in order to achieve the broader objectives of the organization. It is 'legal', because the authority is exercised by means of a system of established and well laid rules and procedures. All decisions are kept in writing readily available for referral purpose.
The administrative staff is hierarchically organized and is better trained and selected on merit than the one that we find in traditional or charismatic authority systems. He administrative staff that is the 'bureaucracy' is the most efficient form of organization.

Although the term bureaucracy is taken synonymous with red tape and inefficiency, Weber's analysis should be viewed in his attempt of construct an ideal type of bureaucracy and his comparative assessment of the traditional, charismatic and legal rational authority systems.




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