Characteristics of Modern Bureaucracy

1.     How does Max Weber define “domination?”


2.     At the beginning of Chapter III in Volume 1, Weber lists four ways in which the members of an administrative staff may be “bound to obedience to their superiors,” but then dismisses one of them on the grounds that it results “in a relatively unstable situation.”  Which one is that?


3.     Weber defines authority as “legitimate domination,” and sees claims to legitimacy as being based on three possible grounds, each of which gives rise to a distinct type of authority.  Be ready to name these three types of authority, and/or to state what Weber defines each of them as “resting on.”


4.     Weber opens his discussion of “legal authority with a bureaucratic administrative staff” by listing eight “fundamental categories of rational legal authority.”  These can be thought of as practices or characteristics of organizations that define those organizations as bureaucratic.  Of the eight organizational characteristics that Weber identifies, be ready to list at least four.


5.     Weber follows this first list with a second list that identifies ten “criteria” according to which “individual officials” [that is, employees of a bureaucratic organization] “are appointed and function.”  Whereas the first list identified defining characteristics of bureaucratic organizations, this second list can be thought of as defining characteristics of bureaucratic jobs.  Of the ten job characteristics that Weber identifies, be ready to list five.



6.     Several characteristics appear on both lists, thus serving as defining characteristics of both bureaucratic organizations and bureaucratic jobs.  Be ready to list two.


7.     Weber offers many examples of fields and organizations in which bureaucratic organization is applicable and/or is found.  Be ready to list four, or to identify any or all of them.


8.     In both volumes, Weber includes discussions of the virtues or advantages of bureaucratic organization.  What does Weber consider to be the most important virtues or advantages of bureaucratic organization?  What disadvantages, if any, does he associate with it.


9.     Weber notes that bureaucratic organizations, and the holders of power within them, have a tendency to increase their power over time.  What does Weber see as the major source of this growing power of bureaucratic officials and managers?


10.  In addition to its impact on the power of managers and officials, Weber sees bureaucracy as having several additional social consequences.  Be ready to list two.