Max Weber was the first to observe and write on bureaucracies which developed in Germany during the 19th century. He considered them to be efficient, rational and honest, a big improvement over the haphazard administration that they replaced. The German government was better developed than that in the United States and Britain and was nearly equal to that of France.
Weber saw that modern officialdom functioned according to six principles: (1) Fixed and official jurisdictional areas which are ordered by rules, that is laws and administrative regulations. (2) Hierarchy and levels of graded authority where the lower offices are supervised by the higher ones. (3) Management is based on official documents (the files). (4) The officials have thorough and expert training. (5) It requires the full time work of the official. (6) Management follows rules. While these principles seem obvious today, German government agencies were pioneering modern administration to replace practices dating back to the Middle Ages owing loyalty to the king, dukes and the church.
From the perspective of the official, Weber observed that office holding is a "vocation," that is it is a calling requiring a prescribed course of training for a long period of time and having examinations which are a prerequisite for employment. He is to be loyal to the office he holds, not to a patron. By virtue of his position, the official enjoys high social esteem. (Weber notes that this is especially weak in the United States.) The official is appointed by a superior official; he is not elected. Normally he works for the agency for life; he does not fear being fired for failing to please a patron. He receives a salary and an pension when he retires. The official pursues a career within the bureaucracy, moving up to more responsible positions according to his experience and ability.
Weber is also known for his theory of charismatic leadership. Charisma is the...