Criticism for Max Weber’s Bureaucracy
Written by Dr. Wasim Al-Habil
College of Commerce
The Islamic University of Gaza
Beginning with Max Weber, bureaucracies have been regarded as mechanisms that rationalize authority and decision-making in society. Yet subsequent theorists have questioned the rationality of bureaucracies. Which features of modern-day public bureaucracies are rational? Which are not? Buttress your argument with citations from organization and/or public administration theories.
Introduction: Max Weber’s work about bureaucracy, translated into English in 1946, was one of the major contributions that has influenced the literature of public administration. However, Van Riper (1997)
…show more content…
This belief in science was evident in Max Weber’s rational-legal authority, which became the defining feature of organizational structures, especially government bureaucracies, to this day. It steered organizational setups to rational based considerations, which are in line with the science of administration idea. In other words, Weber’s bureaucracy consists of the traditional way of thinking in public administration that relied on the same “ingredients” to reform public administration based on the science of administration (Thompson, 2005). This essay explores the nature of Weber’s bureaucracy and its influence on the PA discourse. It explains the reaction to Weber’s concept of bureaucracy and its combustion with capitalist and democratic values. In addition, the essay reflects the rational and irrational areas that can be traced in the literature of public organizations and public administration theories. It concludes by presenting an objective view of bureaucracy and its implementing implications in a democratic society like the United States. Rationality of Weber’s Bureaucracy: Weber defines bureaucracy as “the means of carrying community action over into rationally ordered social action… an instrument for socializing relations of power, bureaucracy has been and is a power instrument of the first order.” Some scholars (Friedrich, 1940; Finer, 1941; Simon, 1947; Shafritz and Hyde,1997; and Marshall in