Weber's Theory of Bureaucracy and Authority

Max Weber (1947 trans.) was a sociologist writing at the turn of the 20th century. In broad terms, he wrote about the emergence of rationality in the West by comparing and contrasting differing cultures and historical periods (Scott p. 38). His writings on administration were part of this larger context.

His typology on authority -- traditional, rational-legal, and charasmatic -- proposed that rational-legal authority was becoming the dominant system (supplanting traditional authority) through the modern state and capitalism, mainly due to it's "purely technical superiority over any other form of organization" .

Charasmatic authority mainly arises in times of crisis. (Scott p. 39) and has to move to traditional or rational-legal forms for long term stability.

Bureaucracy arose by sub-dividing the functions that the owner-managers originally did themselves (Bendix p. 211) such as supervision, personell selection, accounting and financial management, record keeping, job design, and planning.