Essays On Power And Authority

Essays On Power And Authority-34
Weber used the term “Ideal” in the sense of a pure idea, something that can only be imagined rather than in a perfect situation ,it provides a foundation for theorizing because they are abstract they cannot be expected to exist in the world around us (Hatch, 2006, p. The ideal bureaucracy that Weber imagined was a means for turning employees of average ability into rational decision makers, serving their customers with impartiality and efficiency; This bureaucratic form promised reliable decision making, merit based selection , promotion, impersonality and impartiality and therefore fair application of rules (Hatch, 2006, p. Weber’s ‘ideal type’ theory offered the following characteristics outlined below: A fixed division of labour: The central feature of bureaucracy is division of labour coordinated under a centralized hierarchy of command.It creates interdependencies in an organization which is managed mainly through hierarchy of authority and standardizing rules and procedures and supported by documenting procedures, regulations, rules and other prescriptions (Walton, 2005, p.

Weber used the term “Ideal” in the sense of a pure idea, something that can only be imagined rather than in a perfect situation ,it provides a foundation for theorizing because they are abstract they cannot be expected to exist in the world around us (Hatch, 2006, p. The ideal bureaucracy that Weber imagined was a means for turning employees of average ability into rational decision makers, serving their customers with impartiality and efficiency; This bureaucratic form promised reliable decision making, merit based selection , promotion, impersonality and impartiality and therefore fair application of rules (Hatch, 2006, p. Weber’s ‘ideal type’ theory offered the following characteristics outlined below: A fixed division of labour: The central feature of bureaucracy is division of labour coordinated under a centralized hierarchy of command.It creates interdependencies in an organization which is managed mainly through hierarchy of authority and standardizing rules and procedures and supported by documenting procedures, regulations, rules and other prescriptions (Walton, 2005, p.

Bureaucracy as an important aspect of rationalizing modernity still endures because some certain characteristics of bureaucracy cannot be avoided in order for an efficient and effective running of an organization.

Its aim is to prevent forces of unreason, disorder and disorganization (Casey 2004, p.60) Weber’s theory of bureaucracy developed out of a general theory of power domination which is explained later on in the essay.

The charismatic and legal forms of authority may coexist in an organization for example an employee may respect his immediate supervisor because of his charisma and the way he does his work and may decide to make him his mentor, even though they both are subordinates in the same organization(Hunt & Micheal, 1983).

Rational-legal precepts, is exactly what Weber identified as the heart of bureaucratic organizations.

Bureaucracy has to a large extent contributed immensely to the growth of modern organization and in its contributions lays some weaknesses that result from the application of its features in the following paragraphs.

Bureaucracy is characterized by high formalization which is defined as the degree to which rules procedures, regulations and communications are written and filed (Walton, 2005, p. Everything should be done by the book and this leads to the feeling of impersonality often associated with bureaucratic organizations that does not allow employees to be committed emotionally to the pursuit of economic efficiency, which is the overall goal of the organization; it restricts them because of culture of impersonality and detachment (Stokes & Clegg, 2002, p. Employees must share a managerial vision of their organization’s culture and be prepared to go an extra mile to achieve it, not just to following rules, rules should be bent sometimes to ensure that a desired outcome is achieved, there is a limit to how much of your work you can rely on policy and guideline (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008, p. Therefore, Bureaucracy strangles individualism because everything has to be done in a machine-like manner.Prince Charles, for instance is not so much an authority because of his charisma, but because of tradition.Rational-legal authority signifies that respect and obedience are owed not to the person or the title they hold but to the role they fill.It was used in the military to exhibit discipline, using acts such as “goose stepping”, it assured the generals of the complete obedience of their recruits to order, and for civilians it meant that the men were drilled like machines to eliminate insubordination and individualism (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008, p. As modern industrial organizations emerged in Germany they incorporated some of this form of ruling and it was a success, by the 20th century it became popular, the United States increasingly started adopting it for modern management, especially after the World War 1 when they noticed that the German economy had significantly improved.Bureaucratic forms were also developed internationally as a superstructure on a rationalized basis produced by systems such as that of Fredrick Taylor; these rational superstructures triggered Weber’s productive research inquiries into the nature of rationality, rules and bureaucracy (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008, p. Weber’s view of bureaucracy was as an instrument of unrivaled technical superiority, he wrote that precision, speed and clarity, knowledge of files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and material and personal cost are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration; Bureaucracy was a rational machine and was based on how peoples in an organization use the rules of an organization as an everyday guide to management (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008, p. Bureaucracy is supposed to be a system of administration continuously executed by trained professionals following set rules; according to Weber, system administration has to meet all the characteristics of a bureaucracy before it can be called one (Beetham, 1996, p. Examples of everyday bureaucracies include the Armed forces and Corporations such as General motors and NASA.Bureaucracy has been studied for a long time now and many organizations have adopted this model in the day to day running of their organization.The aim of this essay is to explore the “Ideal type” bureaucracy developed by Max Weber, its characteristics, the role of power and authority on it and its strengths and weaknesses.Weber’s view of bureaucracy was a tool for unequaled technical advantage.He wrote that “…precision, speed and unambiguity, knowledge of files , continuity , discretion, unity , strict subordination, reduction of friction and material and personal cost are raised to an optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration”. The outcome of this process of rationalization, Weber suggests is the production of a new type of person: the specialist (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008).Rules, documents and filing is the order of the day as they govern official decision making and action.When we think of bureaucracy, we often think of ‘red tape’ the strict adherence to formalities (Hatch, 2006, p. Therefore bureaucracy is characterized by high formalization Weber sees the rule of man over man in the society as an inevitable historical phenomenon; he distinguished between power and rule stating that the former hinges on having ones way in a social relationship and the latter as getting things done through specific channels persons (Warner, 2007, p. Authority is a source of power; other sources of power include personal character, expertise, coercion, control; one main difference between authority and other sources of power is that the exercise of authority is directed downward in organizations while the exercise of other forms of power may work in all directions (Hatch, 2006, p. Authority particularly stands out because it is associated with hierarchy, part of the social structure of organizations (Hatch, 2006, p. Weber believed that in a bureaucratic organization members adhere to the rules of that organization, he contrasted three types of authority namely (Clegg, Kornberger, & Tyrone, 2008, pp.

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