Max Weber On Bureaucracy Essay

3727 words - 15 pages

Weber believed that bureaucracy created stable, and predictable actions and outcomes because it allowed organizations to work in a rational manner, like a machine, and helped account for the fact that humans had only limited intelligence. Though Weber discussed the perfect model of an organization, bureaucracy allows for even imperfect organizations to function in a more reliable and predictable way because it’s structure controls how individuals behave.
One of the aspects of bureaucracy is that it creates fixed division of labor. The benefit of fixed division of labor is that it allows humans to become specialized at what they do as they can learn from their experiences and gain more in depth knowledge on the topic. When individuals work with similar environmental uncertainties on a constant basis they obtain a better understanding of how to deal with those uncertainties. They often use their experiences to deal with the situation in ways that worked for them previously. In addition when there are assigned jobs, it is easier to hold specific individuals accountable for their tasks. This allows the organization to quickly find who caused a certain problem and fix it. Accountability leads to people being more likely to work in the best interest of the organization, as they know that there could be repercussions for not doing so. People will use the techniques that they have previous experience with and that they know work in order to not make a mistake and be held accountable. And so they will work in a stable and predictable manner. When the people in the organization work in a stable and predictable manner the organization is likely to work in the same way. Accountability also helps in solving problems and quickly getting the organization back on track with work, so that it can continue having predictable and stable outputs.
Another reason for why organizations cause predictable and stable outcomes is because of their hierarchical structure and the function this structure has. Hierarchy allows for the coordination of workers actions. Perrow talks about people’s tendency to use the organizations power to peruse their personal goals, and hierarchy is one of the ways to stop that from occurring. With a formalized hierarchy, top management, who will only approve the actions that fit in with their goals, must approve large decisions. These goals may or may not be in the best interest of the organization, but they will be consistent as long as the same managers are making the decisions to reach a set goal. Ideally top management is composed of individuals that have the most knowledge and authority to deal with the environmental uncertainty, which is probable because to move up a hierarchy people are gradually promoted based on their skills. The choices these individuals make will be consistent, as they will be based on established rules and experience with what solutions worked in the past.
Hierarchy creates clear accountability and therefore...

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