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‡ German sociologist and political economist who was born in Erfurt, Prussia Germany on April 21, 1864. ‡ Best known for his thesis of the "Protestant Ethic," relating Protestantism to capitalism, and for his ideas on bureaucracy. ‡ In 1882, Weber enrolled at the University of Heidelberg ‡ mid- and late-20s working simultaneously in two totally not remunerative apprenticeships--as a lawyer's assistant and as a university assistant--he was financially unable to leave home until the autumn of 1893. At that time he received a temporary position in jurisprudence at the University of Berlin ‡ He became a full professor in political economy at Freiburg, and then, in the following year (1896), at Heidelberg ‡ In the months following his father's death in August 1897, an increasing nervousness plagued the young scholar. His return to teaching in the autumn brought a brief respite, which ended in the first months of 1898 with the first signs of the nervous collapse that was to prostrate him between mid-1898 and 1903

Weber Family

Mother: Helene Weber, a sociologist who was raised in Calvinist orthodoxy

Father: Max Sr. was in the textile business and went on to become a National Liberal parliamentarian of some recognizable influence in Wilhelmine politics.

Max was eldest son of an aspiring liberal politician whose family had become wealthy in the German linen industry. . a second cousin. He married Marianne Schnitger. Alfred and Karl.Weber Family Siblings: Max.

‡ Max Weber conceived of sociology as a comprehensive science of social action In action. his analytical focus on individual human actors he differed from many of his predecessors whose sociology was conceived in social-structural terms. The Max Difference . ‡ His initial theoretical focus is on the subjective meaning that humans attach to their actions and interactions within specific social contexts.

Society for Weber According to Weber. He believed that society should NOT be viewed from a single perspective. Society is not structure. . an existing thing. it should be viewed as a mixture of perspectives that vary according to the groups that make up the society. Instead. but interrelated actions. Weber was interested in behavior and motivation. the subjective (individual perception) as well as the objective (systematic causality).

Age.Social Stratification Weber believed that class divisions as the most important source of social conflict. . I believe that it is natural for differing groups to exist. physical ability. politics. geography. culture. self-control. education. religion. sex. willpower. income. race.

The social institutions most important to Weber were economic (class).political (power).Social Institutions Social institutions provide common feelings and beliefs that hold the varying groups together.and cultural (status).Weber believed these social institutions affect how a person sees the world and how she/he will act. .

Modern bureaucracy emerged around 1850. . It is a way to run large organizations.The Industrial Revolution began around 1750 in England.

Max Weber proposed around turn of the century an ideal type (what we would call today a model) of the (then) new form of organization. . He described ideal-type bureaucracy with 6 characteristics. He contrasted modern bureaucracy with the traditional patrimonial type of organization based on family ties.

Bureaucracy Weber developed the Principles of Bureaucracy as a formal system of organization and administration designed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. ³Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge´ ±Max Weber .

professors do not deliver mail. (Impersonality) Every bureaucracy has its own special area: firemen do not arrest criminals. Individuals can come and go. Bureaucracy works regardless of a particluar person. doctors do not empty bedpans.6 Principles of Bureaucracy according to Max Weber 1. There are principles of official jurisdictional areas . but the position is defined by the workflow and the rules guiding behavior of occupants in that position. .

.2. Offices are Hierarchically ordered (Hierarchy of authority ) Creates a clear system of authority. This makes it possible for the governed to appeal. Similarly. in a regulated manner. of course. at the highest level). to appeal. allowing for clear lines of authority. these systems are monocratically organized. the decision of a lower office to the corresponding authority. w. superiors and subordinates. This means that any position has only one boss. those in a particular position can always find a boss of their own supervisor (except.

Files & Positions (Written rules of conduct ) That every bureaucracy has written rules and files that serve as the organizational memory of the bureaucracy This is what allows the continuous fulfillment of a position. .3.

. Positions require specialized training (Promotion based on achievement) People are appointed to offices based on explicit qualifications (which are written down).4.

. Thus. you work to get the job done. Official activity demands the full working capacity of the official (Efficiency) An office holder is responsible for completing the tasks of the office. as any of you will discover when you take on a salary position. regardless of the number of hours it might take.5. not to full the clock.

which can be learned. as are the responsibilities that each has to the other. Office Management follows exhaustive.6. stable. (Specialized division of labor) Every office holder's duties are clear. written rules. knowledge of these rules is a key type of specialized training . In practice.

g. organizations.Whenever there is a particular system containing humans. there must be some authority acting as a stabilizing factor making e. like e. employees follow the directions of the leaders.g. .

‡ A clear hierarchy will potentially lead to an effective organization. and help to define a clear hierarchy of decision-making.Authority ‡ Authority will help to prevent anarchy. consisting of strong and legitimate authority relations between leaders and followers .

the relation between authority and followers must be balanced.authority is only granted leaders if followers find his or her authority legitimate. so that the authority relation is accepted by the followers . If authority is to be seen legitimate.

g. patriarchal and feudalistic systems and societies.Weber distinguishes three types of authority: ‡ Traditional authority ± This type of authority rests on an established belief that leaders have a traditional and legitimate right to exercise authority. ± It gives rise to patrimonial systems like e. .

and in the right of those elevated in the hierarchy to posses authority and issue commands.‡ Rational-legal authority ± This type of authority rests on the belief in the "legality" of formal rules and hierarchies. ± This type of authority is often seen as legitimate in bureaucratic systems. . which enables impersonal. specific and formal structures of modern companies.

. heroism or exemplary character of an individual. and on the normative patterns or orders revealed and issued by him or her.‡ Charismatic authority ± This type of authority rests on the belief in an exceptional sanctity.


The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism (³Die protestantiche Ethik und der µGeist¶ des Kapitalismus´) .

However. Weber addresses this apparent paradox in the book. including the pursuit of wealth and possessions. Weber puts forward thesis that Puritan ethics and ideas had influenced the development of capitalism.Book Contents In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. religious devotion was accompanied by rejection of worldly affairs. .

Book Contents He defines spirit of capitalism as the ideas and habits that favor the rational pursuit of economic gain. The most common tendencies were greed for profit with minimum effort and the idea that work was a curse and burden to be avoided especially when it exceeded what was enough for modest life. as he calls them---could not by themselves establish a new economic order(capitalism). Weber points out that such spirit is not limited to western culture if one considers it as the attitude of individuals--´heroic entrepreneurs´. .

.Book Contents Weber shows that certain types of Protestantism favored rational pursuit of economic gain and the worldly activities had been given positive spiritual and moral meaning.the inherit logic of those doctrines and the advice based upon them both directly and indirectly encouraged planning and self-denial in the pursuit of economic gain. It was not the goal of those religious ideas. but rather a byproduct --.

In his opinion. However. an individual could be assured of salvation by belief in the church¶s sacraments and the authority of its hierarchy. the Reformation had effectively removed such assurances.Book Contents Weber traced the origins of the Protestant ethic to the reformation. under the Roman Catholic Church. .

but applied to any occupation or trade. Therefore. a ³vocation´ from God was no longer limited to the clergy or church. Luther had made an early endorsement of division of labor that was beginning to develop in Europe. according to Weber¶s reading of Luther. Worldly success became one measure of salvation. Anticipating Adam Smith(but using very different argument). .Book Contents In the absence of such assurances from religious authority. Weber argued that Protestants began to look for other ³signs´ that they were saved.

which he dismissed as a rather servile religion but in Calvinistic forms of Christianity.Book Contents However. Weber saw the fulfillment of the Protestant ethic not in Lutheranism. an individual was religiously compelled to follow a secular vocation with as much zeal as possible. A person living according to this world wide view was more likely to accumulate money. The ³paradox´ Weber found was. in simple terms: ‡ According to the new Protestant religions. .

in simple terms: ‡ However.Book Contents However. The purchasing of luxuries or items to make one¶s life more pleasurable was considered a sin. the new religions(in particular. Donations to an individual¶s church or congregation was limited due to the rejection by certain Protestant sects of icons. . The ³paradox´ Weber found was. Calvinism and other more austere Protestant sects) effectively forbade any traditional method of actually using any money gained through this work. which he dismissed as a rather servile religion but in Calvinistic forms of Christianity. Weber saw the fulfillment of the Protestant ethic not in Lutheranism.

donation of money to the poor or to charity was generally frowned on because a lack of worldly success was seen as a combination of laziness or divine disfavor. in simple terms: ‡ Finally. Weber saw the fulfillment of the Protestant ethic not in Lutheranism. The ³paradox´ Weber found was.Book Contents However. which he dismissed as a rather servile religion but in Calvinistic forms of Christianity. .

Weber argued. The . was the investment of this money which gave an extreme boost to nascent capitalism.Book Contents manner in which this paradox was resolved.

the study of Protestant ethic. according to Weber.Book Contents Weber maintained that while Puritan Religious ideas had a major influence on the development of economic order in Europe and in United States. merely explored one phase of the emancipation from magic. they were not the only factor. that disenchantment of the world that he regarded as the distinguishing peculiarity of Western Culture. . In the end.

Book Contents Weber stated in the last the endnotes that he abandoned research into Protestantism because his colleague Ernst Troeltsch. which he continued in his later works. Another reason for Weber¶s decision was that Troeltsch¶s essays had provided the perspective for a broad comparison of religion and society. had initiated work on the book The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches and Sects. . a professional theologian.

Weber¶s ³Spirit of Capitalism´ is effectively and more broadly a Spirit of Rationalization.Book Contents This book is also Weber¶s first brush with the concept of rationalization. . leaving only rational capitalism. At some point this rational ends outgrew and became unreliant on the underlying religious movement behind it. In essence then. His idea of modern capitalism as growing out of religious pursuit of wealth.

The Protestant Ethic turns this theory on its head by implying that a religious movement fostered capitalism not the other way around. . generally speaking. While Marx held.Book Contents The essay can be also interpreted as one of Weber¶s criticisms of Karl Marx and his theories. that all human institutions-including religion-were based on economic foundations.