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Impact of Weber on Public Administration: Bureaucracy - Research Paper Example


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Impact of Weber on Public Administration: Bureaucracy

vernments can be generally characterized to have the four characteristics that both Weber and Henslin had emphasized, it can be argued that the influence of Weber on public administration is clear. The 1947 work of Weber in Henslin’s bibliography was the book, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, first published in 1913 but republished in 1947. According to Kenneth Allan, Weber pointed in out in 1968 that there are six preconditions for bureaucracy: the preconditions involve increases in size and space of the population being organized, complexity of tasks, use of markets and money economy, communication and transportation technologies, use of mass democracy, and volume of complicated and rationalized culture.7 Allan emphasized that there have been “historical shift” to bureaucratic organizations consistent with Weberian prescriptions, implying that this is also the case for public administration.8 Allan also quoted Weber to have said in 1968 that the “pervasive presence of bureaucratic organization has forced people to rationally control life” as well as become specialists.9 The views of Max Weber on bureaucracy and public in the 21st century continues to be influential such that in June 2010, the Quality of Government Institute based in the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, designed a cross-national study on public administration based on the theories of Max Weber. The University of Gothenburg study measured public administration performance of 58 countries “according to their

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degree of Weberianism.”10 In the study, Dahlstrom et al. concluded that in the 58 countries included in their study sample, “institutional designers and policymakers interested in meritocratic bureaucracies tend to follow the standard view of Weberianism.”11 In a 34-page work on what the author described as a “comprehensive outline” of Weber’s work on administration” and with a view towards advocating “Weberian Public Administration,” Eugenie Samier pointed out that Weber’s contributions to public administration are in three dimensions: history, values, and the use of authority or the use of a combination of three forms of authority.12 On what Samier called as Weber’s contribution of “history” to public administration, Samier emphasized that in Weberian public administration, “history provides evidence” on the correctness of a public administration action. Samier elaborated that “while Weber’s approach is often regarded as sociological, it is actually a comparative historical-sociology derived from and applied to actual empirical cases.”13 Thus, Samier suggests that public administration must derive its practice on what is indicated to be correct from the standpoint of practical experience. In line with this, Samier argued for a “historically grounded approach for public administration.”14 According to Samier, a historically grounded approach to public administration means that it must be recognized that public administration is continuously influenced by changing societal forces, public administration arises from a historical context, and that specific public administration styles are produced from the “unique particularity” of the “characteristic social action of the individuals comprising them.”15 In arguing for Weberian public a
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Impact of Weber on Public Administration: Bureaucracy Henslin defined a bureaucracy as “a formal organization with a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor” and as an organization that emphasizes on “written rules, communications, and records” and “impersonality of positions.”1 In addition, Henslin pointed out that the great sociologist Max Weber recommended in 1947 that bureaucracies must acquire four features.2 First, it must have “clear cut levels” with assignments flowing downwards and accountability flowing upwards.3 Second, it must have a division of labor.4 Third, it must have written rules.5 And fourth, it must have written communications and records.6 As go…
Impact of Weber on Public Administration: Bureaucracy
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