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J.Williams.CriticalReflection2 - Patrick Williams SOC 101...

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Patrick Williams SOC 101 - Dr. Kate Webster 2/23/2011 MLA Style Max Weber identified five basic characteristics of bureaucracy. Select an organization familiar to you and apply Weber’s five characteristics to that organization. To what degree does it correspond to Weber’s ideal type of bureaucracy? Our society is becoming increasingly more complex day by day. This complexity has given rise to more formal organizations, or groups designed for a special purpose and structured for maximum efficiency, then ever before. Formal organizations may vary in size and purpose, but it is undeniable that they affect everyday life in society. Although these organizations aim to simplify major tasks, ironically, they can be internally complex themselves (Schaefer 125). Bureaucracy is used in all types of formal organizations to bring a sense of order and stability. Bureaucracy is defined as a component of formal organizations that uses rules and hierarchical ranking to achieve efficiency. The goal of any bureaucracy is to successfully execute the goals of an organization in the most feasible way. Although the word bureaucracy often carries a negative connotation, its practices are a part of our daily lives (Schaefer 125). Companies like Jewel-Osco and Dominic’s are good examples of functioning bureaucracies. Renowned sociologist Max Weber was the first person to define the significance of bureaucratic structure by connecting the basic similarities of structure within religious, government, and business groups. From this realization, Weber constructed an ideal type of
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Williams 2 bureaucracy made up of five key components: division of labor, hierarchy of authority, written rules and regulations, impersonality, and employment based on technical qualification. Weber believed that whether the organization was a church, army or business, it would be comprised of these five basic characteristics and the ideal type would reflect the characteristics of most formal organizations. However, Weber always acknowledged that no perfect bureaucracy could ever exist. This model was to be used to analyze specific organizations (Schaefer 125). This paper will apply Weber’s model of an ideal bureaucracy to a fraternity on campus of DePaul University, Phi Kappa Psi. The first component of the ideal type is division of labor. The division of labor is designed to have specialized experts performing tasks in their fields of expertise. The idea behind division of labor is that by doing a specific task, people will become highly skilled at that task and perform it efficiently (Schaefer 125) . The division of labor within Phi Kappa Psi breaks down into many different facets, the first being committees. There are exactly ten committees within the fraternity which include governance, membership, grievance, scholarship, alumni and public relations, social, finance, fraternity education, philanthropy, and interfraternity council. The governance chairman has rule over the other nine committees, but he is also the vice president of the chapter. Each committee is made up of at least three undergraduate members including the committee chairman. In
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