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Weber_April6 - SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

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1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory Max Weber Key Points: What are the characteristics of bureaucracy, according to Weber, and how do they account for its efficiency? Why does Weber hold a negative view of a bureaucratic social order?
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2 Introductory remarks Acc. to Weber, bureaucracy is the most successful organizational form in the sense that, when it is in place, it is highly effective and therefore hard to destroy. What makes it so successful? Weber provides an answer by identifying the key characteristics of bureaucracy as an organizational system, then moves on to describe the key characteristics of bureaucrats themselves. Exercise In groups of 6, please think of a person you have met that you would rate as a bureaucrat. You may have met this person in school, in a firm, in a sports club, in a place of worship… Î What specific traits of character did that person have? Î What kind of contribution did that person make? Mundane understandings of bureaucracy Negative connotations: inefficient, irrational, slow, archaic, cold, inhuman, inert Are these defects attributable to bureaucracy or to the lack of it?
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3 Bureaucracy and rational-legal authority Weber is one of the earliest theoreticians of bureaucracy 3 types of authority Charismatic: personal authority of individuals Traditional: established authority of institutions Rational-legal: system of rules devised for rational reasons Weber argues that society is increasingly based on rational-legal authority Bureaucracy is the ideal type of an organization ruled by rational-legal authority Key characteristics of bureaucracy
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