(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 2 Administrative Thought - Weber’s bureaucratic model (Paper -1)

Paper - 1
Chapter: 2 (Administrative Thought)

Weber’s bureaucratic model

Max weber: One of the most appreciated and most criticized theorist. He was a sociologist and political economist. His theory on administration Is only incidental, to his study on various social phenomena. E.g. Social change , Social stratification, process of rationalization. His theory is a theory based on research and not on practical experiences as was the case with the classical theorists. His theory is based both on primary as well as secondary sources.

Rationalization: It is a process which involves two aspects on positive another negative.

Positive- which involves any activity which is consistent, logical and includes means ends correlation.

Negative- which does not include magical elements. One of the major characteristic of modern era is rationalization. While discussing rationalization the talks about domination.
Weber while discussing rationalization has referred to the element of authority. He was taken help of the concept Ideal type.
It is a mental construct. Ideal type is rooted in reality but it can’t be found in reality. One sided exaggeration of some part of reality
Using the technique Ideal type he come out with three major types of Authority.

Legitimacy: The acceptance of the exercise of power by the people on whom the power is exercised.
Authority: when power is exercised with legitimacy that is referred to as authority. Right to get things done.
Power + legitimacy = authority
Authority is legitimate power.

1. Traditional Authority: refers to all those legitimate exercise of power which is accepted being part of tradition, customer, conventions or habit.

2. Charismatic authority: A type of authority which is obeyed due to some extra- ordinary quality person has.

3. Legal– rational Authority: refers to all those authorities which are obeyed because of the modern laws.

Patriarchal traditional Authority: In the type of authority where the exercise of power obeyed because of tradition the eldest male member is accepted as the authority.

Patrilineal traditional authority: In refers to all those authority where the exercise of power is accepted based on a tradition which provides authority to eldest male member of a particular male lineage.

Patrimonial: All those authorities where exercise of power is accepted based on at tradition other than the patriarchal and partilineal traditions. Law is only one source of legitimacy. Weber’s study is indicated towards three different types of administrative system.

Both these administration System patrimonial and feudal administration System are not organized on scientific basis. Patrimonial Administration System is highly centralized administration System while Feudal Administration System is somewhat autonomous. Patrimonial Administration System – principle which “Loyalty is bartered with power”

Power are conceived with supreme authority appoints loyal confidants to critical positions like relatives, friends etc. It is a centralized administration system. Where administration Is done by the kiths and kins of the king.

Feudal Administrative system
It is comparatively autonomous system. It is not manned scientifically. Found in feudal areas mainly continental Europe. As compared to the patrimonial system it is not so rigidly centralized.

Under charismatic Authority
There is absence of administration System. Authority is exercised through group of disciples and followers

Legal Rational Authority
Legal –rational administrative system that is bureaucracy. Three different types of administrative systems.

1. Patrimonial administration system.
2. Feudal administration system
3. Bureaucracy

Weber says, these classification are “Pure types” He says, in reality we will only find “mixed type” Of all these authorities the “ charismatic authority” will bring about fastest change.

Prime ministerial form of governemnt
In which Prime Minister authority almost becomes un assailable, similar to that of the presidents power in presidential form of government but without the limitations that president faces in presidential form of government there are limitation is both types of authority, the traditional and the legal rational authority. But “charismatic authority” faces no challenge or limitation. That is the reason it brings about fastest change. Of all the type of authority the most provisional and temporary kind of authority is charismatic authority”. When the situation changes under which the charismatic authority got the authority, the charismatic authority gets the threat of its destabilization.
Two types of response.

1. It might dismantle itself.
2. It might try it stabilize itself, strike to bring about permanency which is done through process of institutionalization of charisma or reutilization of charisma

Paper - 1
Chapter: 2 (Administrative Thought)

Weber’s bureaucratic model

This term has become synonymous with Weber but, Weber has never defined this term nor has coined the term. It was coined by “Vincent de Gourney”. Weber is the first person who brought positive meaning to the term bureaucracy. Debureaucratization : changing the nature of bureaucracy.
Bureau – desk, Cracy – system, cumber some, ante – change, Red – tapism.
He has only referred to bureaucracy as “a body of appointed officials”. It excludes all those personnel who are not appointed but elected. Duly that part of Indian administration Which is appointed. According to him all those appointed officials who are appointed in private organisation can also be referred to as bureaucrats. Those appointed in government are referred to as public bureaucrats. Any individual at any linerarchy is referred to as bureaucrat. According to him the most efficient form of administration System is bureaucracy.

It has certain features:

  1. Hierarchy.

  2. Sphere of competence.

  3. Impersonal laws.

  4. Written records.

  5. Merit based.

  6. Detached spirit.

  7. Career system.

  8. Non – bureaucratic head.

1. Hierarchy: It is an organization arranged in form of superiors and sub – ordinates.

2. Sphere of competence: Every individual Position within the organisation has defined area of responsibility and in relation of that responsibility there has to be all skills to undertake those responsibilities.

3. Impersonal Laws: Weber says that bureaucracy in an organisation is run on standardized laws. This law applies to everybody equally. Law is not personal to any individual occupant it applies irrespective of individual occupant.

4. Written records: Bureaucracy as on organisation is not conducted on oral communication but conducted primarily on written communication.

5. Merit based: The individuals are procured into the organization based on iverit and stall. Personnel are managed through number of processes.

6. Detached spirit: Working with objective orientation. There is separation between public & private office or property.

7. Career system: Once recruited one will work for a considerable period of time may be life long. With change of time they get associated with different responsibilities with different remuneration, with passage of time, his skill improves, thus responsibilities, higher, the hierarchy. Higher the enumeration. That will be their primary and sole occupation.

8. Non – bureaucratic head: Bureaucracy is headed by a non-bureaucratic head. Who is a part of administration but not bureaucracy in most cases an elected person.
“Legal – Rational” Laws are enacted in terms of their “process” and “Purpose” are rational in nature.
Weber says, Bureaucracy is most efficient because in terms of its productivity or operation is precise and predictable. More accuracy resulting in rationality. Since rationality is very high there is higher likelihood that the goal will be achieved. Weber has provided a virtuous meaning to bureaucracy. in terms of functional approach Bureaucracy function with honesty, integrity, neutrality, impersonality, anonymity, scienticism, rationality.

Neutral – Bureaucracy is apolitical, not associated with any kind of political ideology or activity.
Impersonality – in function under impersonal laws.

Impartiality – It can’t discriminate on any basis. Its approach is egalitarian.

Anonymous: Bureaucracy has to work behind the curtain, without having interest in gaining credit or fear of criticism. Their work is to implement; the credit or the criticism lies with the non-bureaucratic head.

Two – broad disadvantages
1. There is a possibility that bureaucracy turn from instrumental to an institutional one.
2. In the context of bureaucracy there is an increasing phenomena of “alienation”

Alienation: a psychological separation. It might happen from society or the work etc.
In bureaucracy, the person serving may get psychologically separated from the work and the self. The operation of impersonal law and detached spirit makes one do what law prescribes them to do, no scope of any personal decision.

With the development of society and increase in rationalization there will be more and more bureaucratization and thus more and more alienation. Thus Weber gives two solutions for alienation. He is more pessimistic about it. “Alienation” is affecting the individual as a person. Danger of bureaucracy being turned from instrumental to institutional:
With increase in complexity of goals it needs expertise. Group of experts in appointed. Bureaucracy is instrumental of state to achieve intention of state. thus Bureaucracy is primarily an instrument. It has been given some powers to exercise its function. This instrument might misuse its power instead of using, to satisfy its self-intereset. Instead of becoming means to an end, it may become an end in itself. This he has referred to as becoming institutional. He says that institutional character of bureaucracy can be checked.

In this regard he has considered. 5 strategies:

  1. Separation of power.

  2. Collegiality

  3. Amateurism

  4. Direct democracy

  5. Representative democracy

Separation of power: Though it may curb the misuse of power but at the same time it may take away competence of the bureaucracy. Hence Weber disregards this option.
Collegiality: Different aspect of same activity undertaken by different functionaries. But here there is problem of delay “overlapping” nature of work.
So, he has rejected it.

Amateurism: Which is pursued on the basis of personal liking or interest. Since members develop entrenched interest and they remain in organisation for a temporary time they will not turn out into institutional. Amateurism will bring down the “expertise” of the organization.

Direct democracy: Major decisions are taken up directly by the people of the state and not by representatives. But in the era of big states, such huge number of population can not participate directly in making the decision. It is practically impossible.

Representative Democracy: It will be possible in a representative democracy to prevent Bureaucracy from becoming institutional. The representatives of the people will frame laws in the interest of the people thus will curb the bureaucrats.
In order to be ensured that the bureaucracy may be controlled it has to be headed by the representatives of the people who will control the bureaucracy for the benefit of the people.

Factors which gave rise to bureaucracy:

  1. Process of industrialization

  2. Coming of money economy (capitalism)

  3. Emergence of democracy

Capitalism believe in “standardization” The stability which is required by capitalism to flourish is provided by the bureaucracy which follows the standardized laws established by the state. “Money economy” is a system which is in itself standardized.

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