Max Weber’s View of Bureaucracy Essay

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As denizens of the 21st century, most of us have are not overly fond of bureaucracy. But this is in large measure because it is difficult for us to imagine a world without it. While bureaucracy certainly has its drawbacks, it also provides a rational framework through with to accomplish work. Bureaucracies are not perfect, but they are essentially rational – unlike the methods of organizing work that came before them, which is the reason that the German sociologist Max Weber championed them. This paper examines his views on the importance of bureaucracy within the larger framework of his views on the ways in which societies are structured.

Weber’s contributions were wide-ranging, as this summary of his work suggests:

He opposed the orthodox Marxian view of the time that economics was the preeminent determining factor in social causation and instead stressed the plurality and interdependence of causes. Weber emphasized the role of religious values, ideologies, and charismatic leaders in shaping societies. In his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1920, tr. 1930) he developed a thesis concerning the intimate connection between the ascetic ideal fostered by Calvinism and the rise of capitalist institutions. A keen observer of politics in his own time, he first admired, then repudiated Otto von Bismarck, and he later advocated for Germany a democratic form of government somewhat on the American model.[1]

[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/w/weberm1-g1er.asp

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