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  • April 20, 2024
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Bureaucracy Approach

Max Weber is a German-born sociologist and scientist, and many concepts related to bureaucratic organizations were basically put forward by him. Max Weber’s best-known work is The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

The word bureaucracy etymologically describes a system dominated by government offices. This concept, which has been used extensively since the 18th century, is used today in a way that expresses the rules that do not end with a negative expression and clumsiness and slowness.

Until the late 1800s, businesses were mostly based on individual foundations such as management within a family, and focused on activities that would enable them to achieve individual wishes and goals rather than organizational goals. On the other hand, Weber proposed a management model based on rational rather than personal foundations, and this is called bureaucracy. Weber argued that this organization, which is continuous, based on a formal structure, and has rational authority (authority), will be more efficient and can adapt to changes more easily. What Max Weber expresses as rationality in organizations is to act competitively in personnel selection, not favoring acquaintances; managing the business with rules and keeping records; It is the legal power that arises from the position of management.

Max Weber analyzed the subject of administrative authority  analytically and classified it according to its sources. Accordingly, it is possible to talk about three types of authority. These can be classified as follows:

Traditional Authority: Authority that is innate, passed from father to son, and is personal. Rather, it is the authority of a group or family that rules the society which is privileged in societies and accepted as noble. The most typical examples of this are kingdoms, empires or families that are in a ruling position in the caste system.

Charismatic Authority: This authority depends on the influence power of the individual. This power of influence arises from individual characteristics. According to many writers, this authority is based on superior individual skills and characteristics such as heroism, holiness, sorcery and so on. Subordinates show loyalty to the leader due to the above-mentioned characteristics. When there is a change in these characteristics, authority may disappear or decrease.

Rational or Legal Authority: Occurs in societies where there are democratic, rational and legal regulations. In such societies, everyone has to obey the rules and laws.

so no one has a privileged position. Managers are brought to the task of management by the society through election by following these rules. Since these managers are chosen because of their knowledge and skills, it can be said that the choice is a rational choice. The authority of the elected administrators in democratic societies is called legal or rational authority.

It would be useful to briefly explain the features of the Weber Model of Bureaucracy based on legal authority described above.

Key Features of Max Weber’s Model of Bureaucracy

– The goals and objectives to be achieved and all the activities to be carried out to achieve them have been determined and these activities have been distributed to various organizational units (positions) under the name of formal tasks. As a result, an organizational structure consisting of purpose, activity and task forms has been established.

– Authorizations specifying the degree to which the employees in the organization can use the material and human tools and resources they need for the activities they need to perform have been determined.

– Coercive measures (penalties) to be applied in case of not using the authority have been opened, and a wage and reward system has been developed for successful employees, which is related to the degree of difficulty of their work.

– It is necessary to choose a man (manager) according to the job, because the authorities of each position are formal and are for a certain part in the hierarchy pyramid. If necessary, the persons to be assigned are subject to special training.

– Each position is created within the hierarchical authority and is supervised by its superior.

– Subordinates obey the orders of their superiors because they are more rational and suitable for the legal structure of the order. There is no arbitrary rule because subordinates are prohibited from obeying the authority of the rulers stemming from their superior abilities and personality traits.

– Administrative activities and decisions must be made in writing. This written document should be kept because it will create organizational memory and ensure its continuity.

– Duties are carried out according to predetermined and written rules. It is not possible to deviate from these rules.

– No one can use the vehicles and personnel given to him to perform his duties for his personal needs.

According to Max Weber, bureaucracy has advantages over other organizational forms. These advantages are:

– It is superior to other organizations in terms of punctuality, continuity, discipline and reliability, and these superiorities allow the users of the services to predict the results of these services.

Pure bureaucracy is highly rational. Because the tasks and responsibilities are determined and distributed in advance and the complexity is eliminated.

The principles of the Bureaucracy Approach are very similar to the Scientific Management Approach and the Management Process Approach. Organizations of approaches that represent Classical Management Thought are defined according to the following characteristics:

– central authority

– Clarified authority limits

– Specialization and skill

– Significant division of labor

– Rules and regulations

– Distinction between staff personnel and line personnel.

In Classical Management Thought, there is a claim that a rational, ideal and effective structure will be formed in the organizations that emerge with the application of the above-mentioned principles. The external environment in which these organizations operate is stagnant and balanced. Therefore, it does not pose a risk for managers and its impact can be ignored.

Although there are many criticisms of Classical Management Thought, it formed the basis of management practices until the end of the Second World War. Even today, its influence continues in many management practices. Stephenson summarizes the reason for this as follows:

– It is theoretically simple and easily understood by administrators.

– It is based on assumptions that reduce uncertainty.

– Expressed in a language that managers can understand.

– It does not take into account the emotional factors that managers face with difficulties.

– It has been developed largely with the contributions of the administrators.

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