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Preliminary Exam Summary; Section: Organizations

By Eileen Bevis
CITATION:
Weber, Max. Economy and Society. Edited Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. New York:
Bedminister Press, 1968, vol. 1, Conceptual Exposition, pgs. 956-1005, “Bureaucracy”.
ABSTRACT:
The chapter on “Bureaucracy” is in vol. 3 of E&S, along with six other chapters on various types
of domination, legitimacy, and authority. What you should know, context-wise: bureaucracy is
the typical expression of rationally regulated association within a structure of domination.1 This
chapter is a schematic outline of the structural characteristics, origins (= necessary conditions),
and effects of bureaucracy. Fully-developed bureaucracies are impersonal, “objective,”
indestructible, indispensable, born out of inherent technical superiority, cause social leveling, and
boost rationalism [among MANY other things].
SUMMARY:
I. Characteristics of a Modern Bureaucracy, a.k.a. Modern “Officialdom” (956-958)
A. Jurisdictional areas are generally ordered by rules = laws = administrative
regulations (956).
1. Regular activities required by the bureaucracy are assigned as official duties.
2. The authority to command the discharge of these duties is distributed in a
stable way and is delimited by rules concerning acceptable coercive means.
3. The regular and continuous fulfillment of these duties is provided for in a
methodical way.
These three elements constitute:
- a bureaucratic agency in the sphere of the state
- a bureaucratic enterprise in the sphere of the private economy
Bureaucracy is fully developed only in modern state or modern economy =
capitalism.
B. There is a clearly established office hierarchy system of super- and sub-ordination in
which there is a supervision of lower offices by higher ones and regulated channels of
appeal (957).
The fully developed bureaucracy is “monocratically organized” [ruled by a single
person, such as a Prime Minister].
Ideally, the higher authority never takes over the lower authority’s business
[bureaucracy would then ‘shrink’]; instead, lower authority’s offices will always be
filled in the case of a vacancy [bureaucracy thus always and only grows larger].
C. Management is based on written documents and a staff of subaltern officials and
scribes. The officials plus their “files” and materials make up a bureau.
In principle, official bureau activity is kept separate from private home life [for
relevance of this point, think $$] (957).
D. Office management usually presupposes thorough, specialized training (958).
1

The others: traditionally prescribed social action is typically represented by patriarchalism;
charismatic structure of domination rests upon individual authority which is based neither upon
rational rules nor upon tradition (954)

Appointed officials function more accurately than elected officials because they’re been selected for functional ability. well-developed bureaucracies that used in kind payments (Egypt’s New Kingdom. The modern official always strives for and usually attains a distinctly elevated social esteem vis-a-vis the governed.S. independent judges vs. and this salary is based on rank/status and maybe length of service. not a wage. The Social Position of the Official a. Knowledge of these rules constitutes special technical expertise. which are pretty stable. The development of the money economy is a presupposition of a modern bureaucracy [difficult to pay officials with “in kind” payments after a certain point]. though historically there were large. True because there is a required. Chin post-Shi Hwangti until present) (963-64). socially-inept. Officials have highest social position where there is demand for expert administration and there is a strong hold of status conventions/social differentiation (e. III. Bureaucratic officials earn a salary. use of unqualified elected or appointed-by-elected officials usually backfires on party [except in Chicago??]. exhaustive. has special exams b. Roman Catholic Church. d. Various asides on how to turn ‘in kind’ payments into cash via one’s official position. but rather agrees to fulfill “impersonal and functional purposes” of office in exchange for secure guarantee of existence. Official activity demands full working capacity of the official in a fully developed bureaucracy (958).g. B. prescribed course of training and exams which takes up full working capacity for a long time. B. b. Fully democratic elections of administrative chiefs and their subordinate officials usually endangers supervision of officials and precise functioning of the bureaucracy (961).g. socially-ept and/because socially dependent because removable military officers in Germany) (962). more important status. and learnable (958). They are also guaranteed a pension (963). Management of the office follows general rules. and higher salary) (963). e. However. II. c. in compensation fro the fulfillment of real or fictitious duties of office (966-67). not in U.2 E.Weber . F. Elected officials hold autonomous positions vis-à-vis their supervisors. Also true because position of the official is seen as a “duty”—official doesn’t own position. why direct purchase of offices occurs (need not just cash but capital). Monetary and Financial Presuppositions of Bureaucracy (963-969) A. The measure of ‘independence’ legally guaranteed by ‘tenure for life’ is not always a source of increased social status (e. later Roman Principate. . Office Holding as a Vocation a. One definition of word that Weber uses frequently: prebends and prebendal organization refer to all cases of life-long assignment to officials of rent payments deriving from material goods or land/rent. The official is set for a “career” up the hierarchy of the bureaucracy (up to higher officers. not on hours worked.) (959-60). The position of the official within and outside of the bureaucracy (958-963) A.

Full taxation system presupposes money economy.Weber . E. The second basis of bureaucratization. economic ultimately determine cultural influences toward bureaucracy. power politics. to officials weakens the bureaucratic mechanism. The first basis of bureaucratization is the quantitative and extensive increase of administrative tasks [the second? qualitative…just wait!] (969). so while not necessary. speed. reduction of friction and of material and personal costs (973). Economic: Increasing possession of consumer goods and of a sophisticated technique of fashioning external life affects the standard of living and increases subjective sense of indispensability of provision for wants that were previously unknown (972). Bureaucracy is definitely tied to the availability of continuous revenues to maintain it. or taxation (968). 974). E. or further of political rights. the greater such dependence (971). the complexity of civilization have all historically contributed to the development of bureaucracy (972). its resulting administrative requirements. knowledge of the files. is also the more significant (971). The creation of standing armies. unity. Qualitative Changes of Administrative Tasks (971-973) A. C. land rents.3 C. (Also. Bureaucracy has optimized precision. The Quantitative Development of Administrative Tasks (969-971) A. Political: increasing demands for order and protection (police) exerts influence toward bureaucratization (972). unambiguity.) D. the large modern state is technically dependent upon a bureaucratic basis—the larger and more powerful the state. IV. V. The Technical Superiority of Bureaucratic Organization over Administration by Notables (973-980) A. This bestowal of material endowments (aside from salaries). physical coercion (e. . developing public finances. especially hierarchical authority (967). B. spur direct growth of state administration because can only be managed publicly and spur indirect growth because contribute to development of inter-local goods traffic and to tempo of administrative reactions (973. career track are superior to arbitrary. discretion. the big state and the mass party are the classic fields of such development (969).g. and prerequisite money economy are certainly helpful and conducive to bureaucratization (968). continuity. “The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any other form of organization” (that would be collegiate. Status incentives and an assured salary. D. and avocational forms) (973) [contrast with Meyer and Rowan]. In politics. and more recently. In particular. Intensity: the assumption by the bureaucracy of as many tasks as possible for continuous management and discharge in its own establishment (972). taxation system. VI. the qualitative and intensive increase of administrative tasks. strict subordination. enslavement) for the success and maintenance of a rigorous mechanization of the bureaucratic apparatus (967-68). honorific. Technical: modern means of communication. B. Such revenues come either from private profits.

Necessitates paid staff. btw (984). the use of which upper management regulates and controls (982-83). Everybody is attacking the idea of such a ‘law without gaps’ where there is no room for the creative discretion of the official. the material means of management in the hands of the master (980. including state and university. Only Roman law consists of formal judgment rendered by subsumption under rational concepts or ‘rules of decision’ (976). or common law. and standing—either national or private (mercenary) (981). a. A. Aside on Kadi Justice and Common Law compared to Roman Law. Similarly. a bureaucracy puts its entire administrative expense on the budget and provides the lower authorities with the current means of expenditure. Such raison d’état is fused inseparably with instincts of bureaucracy for maintaining own power (979). With complexity. specialization. 982). D. this “dehumanization” increases as bureaucracy develops (975). in other spheres. and objectivity come calls for a detached “expert” (975). a. doesn’t always turn out substantively for the democratic good and minimize domination (979-80).. The Levelling of Social Differences (983-987) Although bureaucracy has “indubitable technical superiority. VII. this mass democratic state. Differences in the development of substantive law in Germany and England rest not on economic but on political factors—structures of domination (976). the bureaucratization of the army has everywhere occurred as army service shifted from the propertied to the property-less (happens as culture and economy develop and propertied men get too busy and unfit for war). though they aren’t advocating return to Kadi justice but rather rational law where “objective” standard of “reasons of state” stands behind every administrative act (979). B. armies were able to become larger. The leveling of social and economic differences contribute to bureaucratization. empirical justice.a. it took bureaucratization of the polity to really rationalize Roman law into a closed system of concepts to be handled scientifically (978).k. consists of formal judgments rendered by drawing on analogies and depending on and interpreting concrete precedents (976). which is a result of the demand for ‘equality before the law’ and horror of ‘privilege’ and doing business ‘case by case’ (983).Weber . With bureaucracy. in combination with democratic currents. Note also that rational law. The Concentration of the Means of Administration (980-983) The bureaucratic structure goes hand in hand with the concentration of resources.4 B. C. professional. Historically.” its growth hasn’t been smooth. E. Helping and hindering influences to bureaucratization include: A. VIII. b. For instance as with modern mass democracy (because of characteristic democratic principle of abstract regularity of the exercise of authority. Although technical factors of trial procedure contributed to development of rational law. Kadi justice consists of “informal judgments rendered in terms of concrete ethical or other practical valuations”. Just because ‘expertness’ is valued doesn’t mean general and abstract norms rule (978). . Bureaucracy also offers unparalleled objectivity (discharge according to calculable rules and without regard for person) in the carrying out of administrative functions (975).

” in the sense of the forceful creation of entirely new formations of authority.g. Motives behind such passive democratization are economic (e. for examples of where it happened see 985-86 [only useable if you’re already familiar with those examples b/c no detail given]. By “passive democratization” Weber means a leveling of the governed. XI. E. The Power Position of the Bureaucracy A. they are very easy to steer once one has gained control over them—even if the enemy takes over. But democracy also inevitably comes into conflict with bureaucratic tendencies that were produced by democracy’s fights against nobles—democracy strives to shorten office terms and to have more candidate choices than only those with special expert qualifications. Because bureaucracies are indispensable and impersonal. the resulting system of domination is practically indestructible” (987). Being functionally indispensable does not necessarily translate into lots of power for bureaucracy.Weber . economicallydetermined origin of new classes) and/or political (e. C. X. though very often. The ruled cannot dispense with the bureaucratic apparatus once it exists. The economic effects of bureaucracy are varied. a functional specialization of work. foreign affairs) (986). D. bureaucracy is one of the hardest social structures to destroy (987). are leveling (990). In the great majority of cases he is only a small cog in a ceaselessly moving mechanism which ascribes to him an essentially fixed route of march” (988). However. rationally organized and directed action is superior to every kind of collective behavior and also social action opposing it. “Democracy” as such is opposed to the “rule” of bureaucracy (991). Where older structural forms were already highly technically developed. he cannot start or stop anything. and an attitude set on habitual virtuosity in the mastery of single yet methodically integrated functions” (988). whereas bureaucracy likes closed groups of status officials that aren’t universally accessible and the authority of officialdom against public opinion (985). The Objective and Subjective Bases of Bureaucratic Perpetuity (987-989) Once fully established. They cannot replace it easily because it “rests on expert training. The individual bureaucrat is “chained to his activity in his entire economic and ideological existence. The Indeterminate Economic Consequences of Bureaucratization (989-990) The consequences of bureaucracy depend upon the direction which the powers using the apparatus give to it. more and more impossible (989). Where administration has been completely bureaucratized. Bureaucracy is the means of transforming social action into rationally organized action and thus is a “power instrument of the first order for one who controls the bureaucratic apparatus” (987)…Still asking why bureaucracy has so much power? Because “under otherwise equal conditions. for stopping it results in chaos (and the masses depend especially on the bureaucratic organizations of private capitalism for their material fate) (988). The social effects. IX. Unless he is at the very top.5 B. it is in everybody’s best interest to keep the thing running—making “revolution. however. “crypto-plutocratic distribution of power” results (989). their direction depends on presence of other factors.g. the power position of a fully developed bureaucracy is . bureaucracy was slower to develop because technically superior impetus was weaker (987).

such examination systems conflict with democratic fears of a privileged ‘caste’ (here. XII. which regulates the relationships of the public agencies among each other and with the subjects. “Collegiate bodies.Weber . a strictly unified administrative leadership appears to be more important than thoroughness in the preparation of administrative decisions” (997). furthering the development of ‘rational matter-of-factness’ and the personality type of the professional expert (998). is on the nature of education and personal culture a. of experts) (999) . C. B. they must be distinguished from” (1) advisory bodies selected from among private and interested circles. [Note: presupposes distinction between state/office authority and personal authority (998).6 always great. including the face of the prime minister. Bureaucracy and Education A. The absolute monarch is powerless in the face of the superior knowledge of the bureaucratic expert. ruler doesn’t have to listen to them]. unlike bureaucratic experts.e. Spread from central to varied lower authorities (997). Only private economic interest groups in business know more than bureaucracies. “Collegiate administration disappears when. One of the important effects of A. whether out of functional or pure power motives (992-93). B. as well as that of the further distinction between ‘public’ law. Bureaucracies are naturally secretive about their knowledge and intentions.. The ruler gains needed expert knowledge and yet plays the experts off each other so they don’t gain power to prompt him into ill-advised decisions (995). because these groups have an added incentive for exact knowledge— economic survival (994). from the point of view of the ruler’s interests. On the other hand. and ‘private‘ law which regulates the relationships of the governed individuals among themselves” (998). “Only with the bureaucratization of the state and of law in general can one see a definite possibility of a sharp conceptual separation of an ‘objective’ legal order from the ‘subjective’ rights of the individual which is guarantees. who represents the concentration of the power of the central bureaucracy in a single pair of hands in a constitutional government and who sees everything and controls what monarch sees (993). under normal conditions “overtowering” because bureaucracy’s political “masters” face it as dilettantes to an expert (991).] XIII. as a type. Bureaucracy promotes a ‘rationalist’ way of life. which are frequently found in the modern state and whose nucleus is not formed of officials or of former officials and (2) boards of directors as in joint stock corporations (996). Excursus on Collegiate Bodies and Interest Groups Rulers seeking to fend off domination of experts will sometimes turn to formation of “collegiate bodies” that deliberate and resolve continuously (rather than occasionally) and that are clearly under rulers’ authority [i. the system of rational ‘examination for expertise’ is brought to the fore with modern bureaucracy (999) b. emerge on the basis of rational specialization of functions and the rule of expert knowledge.

the more typical is the absence of bureaucracy and of officialdom in general. its rise and expansion has everywhere had ‘revolutionary’ results.7 c. and matter-of-factness predominating. The further back we trace our steps. prestige which can be turned into economic advantage (1000) d. in a special sense still to be discussed. this development is greatly helped by the social prestige of educational degrees/patents acquired through such specialized exams.Weber . as had the advance of rationalism in general” (1002). Since bureaucracy has a ‘rational’ character. Conclusion “The bureaucratic structure is everywhere a late product of historical development. means-ends calculus. Such acts lead to formation and perpetuation of a privileged stratum in business offices and public service (1000-01). RELEVANCE: . with rules. XIV. demands for the introduction of regulated curricula leading to special exams have much more to do with limiting supply of qualified candidates than with belief in education (1000). in modern bureaucracies. The “cultivated man” was the old ideal. the “specialist” rules (1001). C.