Abhishek Pandey October 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

‘E-Governance is the final arrival of Max Weber’s iron cage of rationality’. Discuss.
CSM, 2011, 20 marks, 200 words
E-governance is the delivery of the government services vide electronic means through the use of information and
communication technology. Such convergence will facilitate impersonal, fast and simple access to routine
government services with the aid of suitable computer programs.
This concept has lot of commonalities with Weber’s ideal type of bureaucracy where rationality has been given the
primary focus. Weber has stressed that conduct of official be bound by rules. Further, the officials need to be well
trained and competent. This according to Weber would facilitate rational decision making and weed out favouritism
and nepotism in delivery of services.
Apparently, Weber’s construct appear same as e-governance in effect. However, a closer analysis reveals out the
following differences:1. While Weber has insisted on bureaucracy carrying out the entire gamut of government operations, e-governance
is focused on the delivery of routine services only. The non-routine functions like development administration has to
be carried out by other actors who are differently organised for the purpose.
2. In case of Weber’s model dependence on rules may lead to procedural delays and red-tapism. However, the faster
computational capabilities and absence of any human interface minimises such possibilities in case of e-governance.
Therefore, while e-governance has the same objectives as of Weber’s model, the chances of appearance of the
dysfunctional attributes of Weber’s model is greatly reduced.
Aditya Jha October 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm
I found the answer well explained but could not find any discussion of the word ‘final arrival’.
Abhishek Pandey October 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm
Agreed.. thats a very good observation… will work on that…
Pardeep October 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm
I guess what final arrival means is…….that the rationality which weber proposed through his model was
missing in actual practice and the e-Governance would fulfill that gap to a certain extant……
Abhishek Pandey October 18, 2013 at 10:42 am
Q. In what way is Weber’s ‘legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy seemingly ‘irrational’?
Urged by the culture of maladministration due to the prevalence of patronage system in those times, Max Weber
conceptualised an ideal construct of bureaucracy. The official conduct of bureaucrats was to be bound by rules which
would ensure delivery of services in a neutral and predictable manner to all concerned without any discrimination.
However, this rule bound ideal construct of bureaucracy has its limitations.
The extreme adherence to rules as recommended by Weber makes the system very rigid and anti marginalised
populace which have special needs to be taken care of that in turn will require meaningful deviation from rules. This
was very forcefully highlighted by the proponents of the new public administration paradigm that called for
bureaucracy to be value laden and relevant. Moreover, strict adherence to rules may turn into an ‘end ’ in itself
thereby displacing the primary goal.
Further, Weber as Selznick has outlined has also neglected the effect of socio-psychological elements on

However the model contains some inherent irrational elements. Moreover. It is in these respect that Weber’s construct may be deemed irrational. Hawthrone studies & Chester Beranrd calling the organization as social sytem further exposes the mechanic orientation of bureaucrats. Weber has certainly liberated the authorities from the patrimonial bureaucracy & more often than not it is “Formalism(Riggs)” that limits its validity Reply Aditya Jha October 18. In what way is Weber’s ‘legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy seemingly ‘irrational’? (15 marks/150 words) Weber propounded his model of bureaucracy as most rational model to exercise legal rational authority.strict and continuous adherence to rules etc.administrative behaviour which may produce results different from as predicted. Weber did not visualize this. the model is inherently contradictatory in nature. 2013 at 3:51 pm I second Aditya’s observation. 2013 at 2:42 pm Hi Peeyush. While these look rational from one dimension. the neglect of behaviouralism and rigid adherence to rules reducing efficiency makes his model in a way irrational. the doctrine of unity of command & specialization pose the dillema of choosing between expertise & heirarchy. However not withstanding the gaps in his model. Weber recommended his model to be of universal value in legal rational political systems. Definitaly the expertise is not the prerogative of experience & seniority.. Reply . Reply Peeyush October 18. ironically they become necessary to make the system more efficient and suitable to the task of socio-economic development. At present it shows the limitation angle more and the irrational angle less Rest of the answer is good. such blind adherence may be followed more in breach than in practice. Weber’s prescription does not extend to the analysis of intra-organisational units comprising the office.In what way is Weber’s ‘legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy seemingly ‘irrational’? (15 marks/150 words) Weber’s legal-rational model is based essentially on impersonal conduct . seemingly rational value neutral bureaucracy is often criticized to overlook human element. At times. nepotim & corruption among others. 2013 at 12:48 pm 1. No wonder the bureucracy is often blamed for apathy. Reply Aditya Jha October 18. Weber considered every administrator to behave exactly as per the rules. But. It is often alleged of red tapism. For example. conservative attitude. The behaviour of each unit may affect the organisation rather than that of the administrators. However failure of development administration has laid bare open the non suitability of rigid bureaucracy to developing countries . In the developing countries this effect of formalism(Riggs) is more pronounced. Further. 2013 at 2:11 pm 1. The second paragraph can be re-oriented/re-phrased. Reply Abhishek Pandey October 18. Moreover. in practice these are distorted by the social and political values of the administrators. insensitivity & lack of compassion. Therefore.

impartial and impersonal. As technology is impartial. It is basically a play of words rather than content… How did u find my second answer?? Reply Aditya Jha October 18..interchanging the. at least explicitly. 2013 at 10:17 am E-governance is the final arrival of Max weber’s iron cage of rationality….last two paras. 2013 at 2:36 pm 1. For. But. no human can be totally neutral.needs. impersonal. The emergence of E-governance is a modern phenomenon. Discuss. I wonder if this question is so vague that the answers themselves are bound to be similarly vague. it must be understood that such technology is operated by humans thereby introducing the required flexibility. makes government efficient and wellconnected thereby improving transparency and accountability. 2013 at 3:54 pm Well Aditya. Reply Abhishek Pandey October 19.your. His iron cage of rationality contains such elements but because of the human element they got compromised. Not sure if it was implied at any place. follows set rules and continous. It essentially vindicates the viability of rational model in changing social and political scenario.some refining…actually some.rearrangement as may be like. However. Humans are flexible with rules and can easily trespass them. E-governance is the delivery of services using information and technology. within the Weberian thought framework e-governance seems to be well placed to satisfy the critics of Weber for the rigidity in his rational model.‘E-Governance is the final arrival of Max Weber’s iron cage of rationality’.Abhishek Pandey October 18. Policy formulation is one such exercise. 2013 at 12:40 am Aditya this answer of. 2013 at 12:11 pm Right. But then again. Its usage can bring rationality in administration and accountability on the part of bureaucracy. it is not possible with technology and its application has made the bureaucratic iron-cage rational model more rigid. the footprints of it can be traced to the weber’s . No? Reply Mohan October 19. As time passes. it corresponds to Weber’s rational thought. in your answer too I feel the second para needs to be reframed to reflect the innate irrationality of a seemingly rational system rather than delve into the practical limitations. we would see even more rigid and extensive application of e-technology in governance thereby reducing discretion and bringing the impersonal and impartial factor in greater play. It may not be possible to rely wholly on e-governance for accomplishing several other duties of the government. However. 2013 at 6:40 pm Was the content ok? Reply Karthik November 3.. I also felt the “final arrival” aspect wasn’t touched upon. But. E-governance employs technology for the delivery of good and services. Reply Aditya Jha October 19.try once.

Reply Ambika October 19. Also. this model neglected the human factor in the organization. this model lacks the differentiation between technical expertise and general administration.Thanks. there are some internal differences in the phenomenon of E-governance and the weber’s model of bureaucracy. the impersonal nature of a bureaucrat gets disturbed in one way or the other. weber’s bureaucratic model focuses its attention more on hierarchy and rules. one thing is for sure. Reply Mohan October 19. so. Reply Mohan October 19.Fadia and Fadia is well and gud book…it discussed each and every concept of paper-2 . 2013 at 10:40 am friends….please review my answer…. a bureaucrat have to act as per the rules. However. it proved to be irrational in many ways. 1. 2013 at 10:18 pm Ambika don’t go for too many books………. PA by Avasti and Maheswari 2.. Another factor which weber gave importance is hierarchy.so. while E-governance tends to eliminate red-tapism. After all. Whatever may be the circumstances that led to the emergence of e-governance. 2013 at 10:18 am friends please review my answer…. New Horizons of PA by Mohit Bhattacharya 3. Further. 2013 at 10:39 am In what way is weber’s legal-rational model of bureaucracy seemingly irrational? weber’s ‘ legal. E-governance facilitates transparency by avoiding inordinate delays. but in certain cases he has to act beyond rules. Indian Administration—. of course.rational’ model of bureaucracy is mainly centred on the impersonal order of a bureaucrat. in modern democracies where administration has to change according to the emerging complexities. weber’s model seems to be rational in some elements. This may dampen the overall output of the organization and breaks the team effort. But. in cases of emergency.‘ legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy. In this way we can say that E-governance is the final arrival of Max weber’s iron cage of rationality.anyone share it I will be grateful to him. Besides. But it may create suspicion on the part of both higher level and lower level officers against each other. 2. the humans tend to create an informal way of doing things which may conflict with the objectives of the organization.Please suggest the books chapter wise I need to prepare fpr 2014. This is particularly true in the third world countries. 2013 at 11:36 pm Can anyone please tell me the comprehensive list of books for public adminstration paper-1&2. while weber’s model tends to create delays in the form of rules and hierarchy.traditional books for paper-1 are: 1. Both focuses their attention on rationality in administration and accountability and transparency on the part of bureaucracy. Administrative thinkers–Prasad and Prasad. Reply Mohan October 19. this model focused on the rules. Reply Mohan October 20. Further. A superior officer may not always have the requisite technical skill. which is based on impersonal order and rationality of bureaucracy. going by rules leads to inordinate delays. This creates chaos among the members of the organization whom to obey either the superior who commands or the person with high technical expertise. For paper-2: 1.

E-Governance is seen as a boon to public service delivery as it reduces significantly the public’s need to interact with people which might otherwise lead to corruption and nepotism. scientific reasoning. 2. from a practical perspective. as Weber himself observed. However. which raises question over the concept of neutrality. Moreover. scientific thoughts and logic being the driving force. The legal-rational model’s basis was a firm legal backing of decisions that would be influenced by and based on rationality – facts. Moreover. Today. but it ovesteps of its instrumental value and become a separate force in society capable of usurping societal goal setting function which belongs to politicians. Weber wanted regularity and abandonment ‘case to case’ basis for application of rules to reflect democratic norms. the relative recent arrival of eGovernance in administrative developments makes it the final arrival of Weber’s iron cage of rationality. There is very limited scope for extraneous thinking or creativity. But. i. much out-of-the-box thinking is needed to achieve development which is significantly impaired by a legal-rational model that strictly defines boundaries and courses of action. 2013 at 1:00 pm 1. In the case of developing countries especially. impersonality etc. Reply Savyasachi November 18. facts. Reply Karthik November 3.g. rationality is always bounded. This systematization achieved by eGovernance further traps one in the iron cage of rationality. (CSE 2011/20 marks/200 Words) Max Weber’s theory of iron cage of rationality proposed that the modern society’s increasing emphasis on rationality. . the legal-rational model of bureaucracy enunciated by Weber is inherently plagued by many irrational factors. what we need is change orientation in place of regularity and case to case application in favour of people from lower strata. As observed by Diamont – bureaucracy is supposed to be a neutral tool in hands of political representatives. David Beetham observed that bureaucracy is truly a technically efficient tool. it clearly defines a framework within which requests are handled. quantification of factors. Hence. In what way is Weber’s ‘legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy seemingly ‘irrational’? (15 marks/150 words) Max Weber laid out the legal-rational model for bureaucracy to follow in the hope of helping it attain more efficiency and effectiveness. hierarchy. the basic premise overlooked is that wherever people are involved. something human intervention would have been able to handle. bureaucracy has to work with the public as well as politicians – both of whom have significantly limited rationality. depending on logic. I”t reflects a separate class structure in society. Thus. Weber said modern bureaucracy accompanies democracy. e-Governance is one of the newer forms of administration/governance in which public service is made available via computerized systems – thus enhancing efficiency and transparency by minimizing human interference and eliminating red-tapism. Discuss. 2013 at 6:36 pm In what way is Weber’s ‘legal-rational’ model of bureaucracy seemingly ‘irrational’? Marx rightly raises this issue when he says – Bureaucracy reserves rationality for itself and monopolises it and rationality is changed to its opposite. basing decisions on rationality that is not guaranteed is inherently irrational. The various advantages of eGovernance notwithstanding. it further reinforces rationality in the administrative system – by reducing human intervention.e. It holds true for Weberian model as well.in depth…. strong bureaucracy will lead to bureaucratisation of polity. E-governance is the final arrival of Max Weber’s iron cage of rationality. etc. to make decisions traps one in a cage with seemingly no way out. But Thompson observed many of features of Weberian model is antithetical to democracy – e. because of its emphasis on process and rational decisions.

India has not yet got rid of rigid. rigidity can not be called rational which was also discarded by our constitutional makers who allowed flexibility in amendments. Also. inflexible Weberian bureaucracy.Rule compliance led to tunnel view kind of perception. Subordination led to suppression of information and communication. Reply .