Books and Movies Reviews

Bureaucracies – Max Weber's 'Iron Cage'

Discuss the functions and dysfunctions of bureaucracies that is the characteristics of bureaucracies as well as its derivation and intended goals – support the points with situations in America today
Despite Max Weber's description of bureaucracies as "iron cages," bureaucracies are not necessarily a bad thing. Once upon a time, patronage, nepotism, or bribery secured an individual's advancement in government and in society. Today, in the modern civil service, performing well on an exam and showing merit in school and possessing technical qualifications can now secure an individual a high government position. Bureaucracy is characterized by a hierarchical organization having a strict division of labor into spheres of influence and clear norms and rules about behavior, promotion, salary and disciplinary procedures. The advantage to this can be seen in a corporation, where there are IT departments, human resource departments, and other departments where individuals are segmented according to their unique skills, and given clear duties to make things more efficient-there is no confusion as to'what is my job' or'how should I proceed if I have a complaint?' Bureaucracies were a vast improvement upon the system of courtly favoritism, where proximity to the ruler determined one's level of power, and also feudalism, where birth rather than merit determined one's place in life.
However, the downside is the'not my job' mentality of a bureaucracy is that it can create laziness and intransigence. Slavish following of the rules can create irrationalresponses-and that may include the way that people are promoted within the organization, leading to less, rather than more qualified people in charge. For example, it could be argued that many people would make good high school teachers who do not have teaching degrees. But the requirement to become a teacher in many states is a B….


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