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15 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
***(1) Describe the main features of modern bureaucratic organizations. How are modern bureaucracies 'technically superior' according to Weber?
• There are fixed and offical jurisdictions,regulated by written rules.
• There is a clearly defined hierarchy, again organized by written rules.
• authority is based on strictly delimited fields of expertise.
• Weber considered modern bureaucracies ‘technically superior’ because of how they recruit people and fill jobs. Jobs are given based on merit and having technical qualifications instead of heredity.
• Their ability to manage really large organizations.
How do the characteristics of modern bureaucracies serve the larger goals of rationalization?
• Rationalization is the cognitive process of making something seem consistent with or based on reason.
• Bureaucracies are organized according to rational principles
• Offices are ranked in a hierarchical order and their operations are characterized by impersonal rules.
• Instrumental Rationality is related to the expectations about the behavior of other human beings or objects in the environment.
• These expectations serve as means for a particular actor to attain ends, ends which Weber noted were "rationally pursued and calculated”
Why is it more difficult for bureaucracy to form in a society dominated by traditional authority?
• Traditional authority is based on a belief in the sanctity of the past and its traditions
• An example of a society dominated by traditional authority would be feudalism where the ability and right to rule is inherited and passed down through heredity
• . Whereas you are born into your career or trade in feudalism
• in a bureaucracy jobs are filled through merit and technical qualifications.
• Bureaucracy does not develop easily in a society dominated by traditional authority because a belief in traditional authority does not foster social change.
Describe some of the consequences (2), which resulted from bureaucratic forms of organizations and the creation of a bureaucratic society.
• One consequence from bureaucracies could be inefficiency.
• This can occur when employees apply formalized rules and procedures blindly in all types of situations regardless of special circumstances.
• For example, an employee may easily be able to solve your problem but because of a written rule they make you go through procedures and paperwork first.
• Another consequence could be boredom. High routine activities can lead to boredom or a loss of a sense of purpose.
***(2) How did Weber define power? Why did he think that class power was too unstable on its own?
• Weber defines power as the chance that an individual in a social relationship can achieve his/her own will even against the resistance of others.
• Class power refers to the shared economic interest of property owners realizing the value of their property in a market.
• Weber argued that this kind of power cannot operate on its own
• The reason is it unstable is because property owners do not always have the same interest or they may not always have a full understanding of their interests. Additionally, property owners may not all like each other. Therefore, Weber argued that for class power to be effective, it must be linked to some other kind of common identity.
What are the differences between status power and party power? In what way is it possible for status power and party power to be combined? Be sure to give an example.
• Status power groups have a shared identity and share certain characteristics of social honor (either positive or negative) and a certain style of life.
• Party power is based on the leadership of an organization.
• Status power is social power and party power is organizational power.
• Status groups achieve power through mechanisms of social closure.
• Party power depends on the existence of bureaucracy and is based on organizational skill.
• Status power and party power can be combined through marriage, educational success, and organizational leadership.
• Party power becomes more important relative to status power as democracy and bureaucracy becomes more widespread and fully developed.
• An example of a person who combined status and party power is Robert Rubin. He graduated with a law degree from Yale and became a partner at Goldman Sachs. He later went on to become Secretary of Treasury during the Clinton administration.
How does the rise of party power help to make bureaucracy a permanent feature of modern life?
• As democracy and bureaucracy becomes more widespread and fully developed, party power becomes more important
• A rise in party power, which is based on the leadership of an organization, helps make bureaucracy a permanent feature of modern life
• This is because party power depends on the existence of bureaucracy and is based on organizational skill.
What is the difference between coercive power and legitimate authority? What are the relative advantages of legitimate authority, from the perspective of those in power?
• Coercive power is power that is dependent on fear or backed by the threat of force.
• An example of coercive power would be threatening a demotion or termination for employees who do not follow a new rule in the workplace.
• Legitimate authority is authority based on formal, written rules and often law. It is much more efficient and effective than coercive power.
• This is because giving legitimate authority to a person in power causes people to follow them more obediently. Followers do what they’re asked because they respect the leader’s knowledge and trust them.
• People are more likely to voluntarily submit to the orders they receive if they believe in the person’s authority.
• While coercive power can produce results in the short-term, it relies on intimidation and can backfire badly or provoke resistance
***(3) Describe the three different types of legitimate authority, being sure to identify which was the dominant form before modernity, and which was the dominant form after modernity.
• (before modernity)The first type of legitimate authority is traditional authority, which is based on a belief in the sanctity of the past and its traditions. It was the dominant form of authority before modernity.
• The second type is charismatic authority, which is based on “special qualities” of a particular person.
• (after modernity)Finally, rational-legal authority is based on a belief in the authority of rules and laws. It was the dominant form after modernity.
In what ways is charismatic authority different from the other two forms of legitimate authority? Why are those in power concerned to try to change charismatic authority into one of the other types of legitimate authority? Why did Weber think that charismatic authority offered a potential antidote to the “disenchantment of modernity?
• Charismatic authority is based on “special qualities” of a particular person.
• Charismatic authority is found in a leader whose mission and vision inspire others. This type of authority is very unstable and has the greatest potential for social change. This is because once the leader dies, their authority dies as well and it is difficult for another leader to come along and command people’s devotion as intensely.
• Charismatic authority becomes more stable when it evolves into traditional or rational-legal authority. Transformation into traditional authority can happen when charismatic leaders’ authority becomes accepted as residing in their bloodlines, so that their authority is passed down to their children and then to their grandchildren.
• Transformation into rational-legal authority occurs when a society ruled by a charismatic leader develops the rules and bureaucratic structures that we associate with a government.
• Weber believed that charismatic authority offered a potential antidote to the “disenchantment of modernity”.
• Disenchantment of modernity is that as we have more bureaucracy and we have more instrumental rationality our lives lose meaning, and we lose a larger sense of our bigger purpose. We become more machine-like, looking at the rules and trying to figure out how to succeed all the time.
• Weber believed that there was something about charismatic authority that makes our lives more meaningful even though we ourselves are not the charismatic leaders. Since people admire and love charismatic leaders and therefore believe in them, they are more likely to want to follow their orders or requests for action.
What are some of the historical circumstances that allowed a new power elite to form in the first half of the twentieth century?
• According to C. Wright Mills, societies were on the road towards a “managerial society”.
• The new middle class aimed to change the nature of power in society and they did so by separating the administration of power and the control of power, which brought about a shift in who actually has the power.
• The rise of white-collar workers reorganized power in society by being responsible for implementing the technical rules in the organization but not being involved with the formation of goals and directions within the organization.
***(1) Who make up the power elite in modern society? How are they held together as a ruling group? How has the composition of the power elite changed in the US over the last 100 years? Be sure to give specific examples in your answer.
• The power elite is made up of those who have the technical knowledge to do the largest scale coordination between big bureaucracies.
• They range from corporate lawyers to investment bankers and even families that just have a lot of experience with executive leadership.
• They occupy the dominant positions in the three dominant institutions (military, economic, and political). The power elite allows for the incorporation of new talent, while preserving the privileges of traditional status closure.
• The interlocking friendships amongst the elites isn’t the reason why they’re held together, it’s because their executive ability is transferable across any type of bureaucracy.
• Over the past 100 years the basic trend of the power elite was: political domination, economic domination, interlocking directorates of political and economic elites, and finally interlocking directorates of all three institutions.
• Some important members that were apart of the power elite include: William Randolph Hearst, Robert Rubin, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell.
***(4) What kinds of solidarity are possible in the modern, bureaucratic division of labor? How does this differ from the forms of solidarity that existed in older societies? What are the potential advantages of the new forms of solidarity? What kinds of factors might prevent this new solidarity from emerging?
• Before the division of labor, in traditional societies, there was a mechanical solidarity within society. Its cohesion and integration stems from the homogeneity of individuals-people feeling connected through similar work, educational and religious training, and lifestyle. W
• hat binds people together is a strong form of collective consciousness.
• Modern society is held together with organic solidarity- a social cohesion based upon the dependence individuals have on each other.
• What binds people together is the recognition that people are bound together in overlapping networks of social attachment and social obligation.
• The new forms of solidarity led to the increase of social solidarity- feeling of attachment to one’s society.
• This enlightening feeling led to population increases and the increasing value of an individual’s personality. Unfortunately there were factors that prevented this new solidarity such as the rapid pace in social change and the forced division of labor.
In what ways does society help to produce moral indifference? How does bureaucracy encourage this tendency? Discuss how these tendencies operated for the case of the Holocaust.
• Moral indifference is produced when society doesn’t care enough about what is happening in their society and have no will to change.
• Society helps to produce moral indifference by following what their leader is saying and not questioning their orders.
• Bauman argued that society had a tendency to produce moral indifference and rational bureaucracy made it possible.
• Hitler was a charismatic authority figure; his followers wanted to partake in his goals and believed in all of his beliefs. When Hitler gave the goal of ridding Germany of Jewish people it was up to the bureaucrats to determine how to execute this plan.
• In a bureaucratic system, the inner organizational rules provide the moral context so what is “right” is following orders from the superior.
• They began with the process of moral distancing that allowed them to commit the crimes they were partaking in. By making their actions routine, they were able to act without thinking and didn’t have to face moral choices.
(ESSAY) Describe the main problems associated with bureaucracy and rationalization in modern society. Be sure to discuss the different criticisms presented by Weber and Bauman.
• The main problems associated with bureaucracy and rationalization in modern society include that people follow the formal rules to the exclusion of reason which is not efficient,
• theres an obsession with efficiency which leads to inefficiencies,
• an obsession with technological control will lead to a loss of human control,
• an obsession with quantification and standardization leads to a loss in quality.
• There has been a general historical shift in the relationship between society and bureaucracy.
• Since the 1960s, we can see a loss of faith in modernity’s managerial ambitions.
• Abdications of managerial control, managers today have lost interest in total control.
• The managed now have to continually prove themselves, attract the attention of the managers and continually prove that they are not expendable.
• From blending in to standing out. No more long-term planning. “Projects are blatantly short-term and until-further-notice”.
• Also industrialization of insecurity; leaders of organizations have realized that the institutionalization of insecurity is an even more efficient way to maintain power than the creation of legitimate authority.
• It has created more anxiety among people, and “no more salvation by society”.
• Bureaucracy encourages instrumental, and instrumental rationality is incapable of preventing mass genocide