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Max Weber Bureaucracy Hierarchy Of Authority

The hierarchy of authority is a system in which different positions are related in order of precedence and in which the highest rank on the ladder has the greatest power. The bottom layers of bureaucratic organizational structures are always subject to supervision and control of higher layers.

max weber bureaucracy hierarchy of authority

Weber was concerned that authority was not a function of experience and ability, but won by social status. Because of this, managers were not loyal to the organization. Organizational resources were used for the benefit of owners and managers rather than to meet organizational goals. Weber was convinced that organizations based on rational authority, where authority was given to the most competent and qualified people, would be more efficient than those based on who you knew. Weber called this type of rational organization a bureaucracy.

Although he was not necessarily an admirer of bureaucracy, Weber saw bureaucratization as the most efficient and rational way of organizing human activity and therefore as the key to rational-legal authority, indispensable to the modern world.[61] Furthermore, he saw it as the key process in the ongoing rationalization of Western society.[6][62] Weber also saw bureaucracy, however, as a threat to individual freedoms, and the ongoing bureaucratization as leading to a "polar night of icy darkness", in which increasing rationalization of human life traps individuals in a soulless "iron cage" of bureaucratic, rule-based, rational control.[6][7] Weber's critical study of the bureaucratization of society became one of the most enduring parts of his work.[6][62] Many aspects of modern public administration are based on his work, and a classic, hierarchically organized civil service of the Continental type is called "Weberian civil service" or "Weberian bureaucracy".[63] It is debated among social scientists whether Weberian bureaucracy contributes to economic growth.[64]

Although numerous ideals associated with democracy, such as equality, participation, and individuality, are in stark contrast to those associated with modern bureaucracy, specifically hierarchy, specialization, and impersonality, political theorists did not recognize bureaucracy as a threat to democracy. Yet democratic theorists still have not developed a sufficient solution to the problem bureaucratic authority poses to democratic government.[72]

Classical organization theories (Taylor, 1947; Weber, 1947; Fayol, 1949) deal with the formal organization and concepts to increase management efficiency. Taylor presented scientific management concepts, Weber gave the bureaucratic approach, and Fayol developed the administrative theory of the organization. They all contributed significantly to the development of classical organization theory.Taylor's scientific management approachThe scientific management approach developed by Taylor is based on the concept of planning of work to achieve efficiency, standardization, specialization and simplification. Acknowledging that the approach to increased productivity was through mutual trust between management and workers, Taylor suggested that, to increase this level of trust, the advantages of productivity improvement should go to workers, physical stress and anxiety should be eliminated as much as possible, capabilities of workers should be developed through training, and the traditional 'boss' concept should be eliminated.Taylor developed the following four principles of scientific management for improving productivity: Science, not rule-of-thumb Old rules-of-thumb should be supplanted by a scientific approach to each element of a person's work. Scientific selection of the worker Organizational members should be selected based on some analysis, and then trained, taught and developed. Management and labour cooperation rather than conflict Management should collaborate with all organizational members so that all work can be done in conformity with the scientific principles developed. Scientific training of the worker Workers should be trained by experts, using scientific methods.Weber's bureaucratic approachConsidering the organization as a segment of broader society, Weber (1947) based the concept of the formal organization on the following principles: Structure In the organization, positions should be arranged in a hierarchy, each with a particular, established amount of responsibility and authority. Specialization Tasks should be distinguished on a functional basis, and then separated according to specialization, each having a separate chain of command. Predictability and stability The organization should operate according to a system of procedures consisting of formal rules and regulations. Rationality Recruitment and selection of personnel should be impartial. Democracy Responsibility and authority should be recognized by designations and not by persons.Weber's theory is infirm on account of dysfunctions (Hicks and Gullett, 1975) such as rigidity, impersonality, displacement of objectives, limitation of categorization, self-perpetuation and empire building, cost of controls, and anxiety to improve status.Administrative theoryThe elements of administrative theory (Fayol, 1949) relate to accomplishment of tasks, and include principles of management, the concept of line and staff, committees and functions of management. Division of work or specialization This increases productivity in both technical and managerial work. Authority and responsibility These are imperative for an organizational member to accomplish the organizational objectives. Discipline Members of the organization should honour the objectives of the organization. They should also comply with the rules and regulations of the organization. Unity of command This means taking orders from and being responsible to only one superior. Unity of direction Members of the organization should jointly work toward the same goals. Subordination of individual interest to general interest The interest of the organization should not become subservient to individual interests or the interest of a group of employees. Remuneration of personnel This can be based on diverse factors such as time, job, piece rates, bonuses, profit-sharing or non-financial rewards. Centralization Management should use an appropriate blend of both centralization and de-centralization of authority and decision making. Scalar chain If two members who are on the same level of hierarchy have to work together to accomplish a project, they need not follow the hierarchy level, but can interact with each other on a 'gang plank' if acceptable to the higher officials. Order The organization has a place for everything and everyone who ought to be so engaged. Equity Fairness, justice and equity should prevail in the organization. Stability of tenure of personnel Job security improves performance. An employee requires some time to get used to new work and do it well. Initiative This should be encouraged and stimulated. Esprit de corps Pride, allegiance and a sense of belonging are essential for good performance. Union is strength. The concept of line and staff The concept of line and staff is relevant in organizations which are large and require specialization of skill to achieve organizational goals. Line personnel are those who work directly to achieve organizational goals. Staff personnel include those whose basic function is to support and help line personnel. Committees Committees are part of the organization. Members from the same or different hierarchical levels from different departments can form committees around a common goal. They can be given different functions, such as managerial, decision making, recommending or policy formulation. Committees can take diverse forms, such as boards, commissions, task groups or ad hoc committees. Committees can be further divided according to their functions. In agricultural research organizations, committees are formed for research, staff evaluation or even allocation of land for experiments. Functions of management Fayol (1949) considered management as a set of planning, organizing, training, commanding and coordinating functions. Gulick and Urwick (1937) also considered organization in terms of management functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.Neoclassical theory Principles of the neoclassical approach

An organization is a continuing system, able to distinguish and integrate human activities. The organization utilizes, transforms and joins together a set of human, material and other resources for problem-solving (Bakke, 1959). The main function of an organization is to satisfy specific human needs in interaction with other sub-systems of human activities and resources in the given environment. In a research organization, individual needs of researchers are more often in conflict with organizational needs than in any other organization. Therefore, growth of the organization should concurrently also promote growth of the individual.Characteristics of the research organizationSocial organizations are characterized by their complexity, degree of inter-dependence between sub-systems, openness, balance, and multiplicity of purposes, functions and objectives (Huse and Bowditch, 1973). Complexity A research organization consists of a number of individuals, groups, or departments, each of which is a sub-system within the total system. The prevalence of these sub-systems makes the organization complex. Degree of inter-dependence of sub-systems The various sub-systems of the research organization are inter-dependent which makes it further complex, as each sub-system has its way of working, requirements, behaviour, etc. Openness of the social organization Research organizations operate in the wider environment of a larger organization or system, and are therefore open. They have to function in harmony with environmental requirements, goals and functions. This may cause conflicts in the organization unless the sub-systems are appropriately balanced. Balance and the social organization Social organizations are highly dynamic. Forces such as researchers, managerial hierarchy and various inputs from within and outside the organization have to be balanced for the smooth functioning of the organization. Multiplicity of purpose, functions and objectives Most research organizations have a multiplicity of sub-systems, each of which has dynamic interactions with others. In the research organization, a researcher can be viewed as a sub-system with specific needs, goals and functioning, although those needs, goals and functioning may sometimes not match those of the organization.Goal settingIn an organization, goal setting is one of the control systems, a component of the appraisal process and an effective tool for human resource management (Locke, 1968; Sherwin, 1976). The concept of goal setting is now used to increase the performance of the organization as well as the individual through management by objectives. Drucker (1954) suggested that management by objectives can be useful for managers for effectively managing the future direction of the organization.Importance of goal settingWell specified and clear goals improve performance in an organization by: making clear what people have to do; solving specific problems related to the work as they emerge during the process of goal setting; reducing ambivalence in the assigned work and thus encouraging increasing efforts; supporting people to find a connection between their work and the achievements of the organization; assisting individuals in allocating their time, efforts and personal resources to important areas; giving a feeling of accomplishment and contentment when specified goals are achieved; and providing some control over the people and their work in an organization. Goals are an objective way of assessing performance in the organization.There is a definite linkage between goal setting and performance. Latham (1981) reported that specified goals are better than vague or general goals, difficult and challenging but attainable goals are better than relatively easy goals, goals evolved through participation and accepted by workers are preferred to assigned goals, and objective and timely feedback about progress toward goals is better than no feedback.The process of goal settingPeter Drucker suggested thirty years ago that a systematic approach to goal setting and appraising by results leads to improved organizational performance and employee satisfaction. This concept of goal setting is now widely used in most organizations. The process of goal setting (or management by objectives as it is often called) involves several steps (Luthans, 1985):(i) The first step in the process is setting general organizational objectives and preparing an action plan. Goal setting is based on a top-down approach, and involves: identifying key result areas in the organization, identifying measures of performance, stating objectives, and evolving agreement between members of top management on the objectives and goals set. (ii) Once goals are formulated, the second step is to activate the system for implementation. For successful implementation of such a system, it is essential to prepare the members in the organization. (iii) The third step is to set individual goals. Individual goals are decided jointly by superiors and subordinates. Once goals are finalized, an action plan is developed for implementation. (iv) The fourth step involves: ensuring that work is carried out in the right direction, identifying obstacles, and making adjustments to eliminate obstacles. (v) Finally comes appraisal of performance of the individual against the set targets. An appraisal and feedback system is an important part of goal setting. The individual is given feedback on his or her performance, and provided with suitable rewards and motivation.Integration and coordinationIntegration and coordination refer to integration of the objectives and activities of specialized units or sub-systems in order to achieve the organization's overall strategic objectives. Coordination and integration are necessary controlling mechanisms to ensure placid functioning, particularly when organizations become large and complex. Integration aims at ensuring that different sub-systems work towards common goals.Integration of the organizational sub-systems relates to differentiation and division of labour in the organization. Organizational differentiation means un-bundling and re-arranging of activities. Re-grouping and re-linking them is organizational integration (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967). When different units are assigned different tasks and functions, they set independent goals for performing the assigned tasks and function accordingly. In such situations, integration of the activities of different sub-systems is necessary to facilitate smooth working and to bridge communication gaps.In research organizations, integration of research units and administrative units is very important for the smooth functioning of research activities.Need for integrationIntegration and coordination is necessary for several reasons (Anderson, 1988): As the organization encounters environmental complexity, diversity and change, it requires more and more differentiation of its units. Need for integration also increases with increase in structural dimensions. Different specialized units are required to achieve broad strategic objectives rather than only individual objectives. For the purpose of achieving these strategic objectives, a research manager has to coordinate different units. A research manager has to settle conflicts and disputes between different specialized units. When different units are assigned different goals and tasks, conflicts are inevitable. A manager needs to integrate and coordinate the work of different sub-units to effectively resolve conflicts. Managers also need to coordinate and integrate independent units or research stations to ensure that their objectives and functioning are in consonance with overall organizational goals and strategies. The necessity for coordination increases with increased specialization, because increases in specialized functions leads to decision making in specialized units or sub-units. This may cause conflict.Methods of integrationWithin any large organization it is important to have proper communication systems to enable different sub-systems to coordinate various activities and avoid obstacles in the work environment. Lack of proper coordination often causes conflicts in an organization. To ensure proper coordination in research organizations, the research manager has to take care of behavioural dimensions (such as motivation and conflicts) while ensuring an efficient overall structure.Achieving integrationThe structure of a research institution needs to be suitably designed to facilitate proper coordination and integration of different specialized units. A poorly designed structure may: hinder coordination and integration, cause conflicts, and lead to poor performance.Coordinating vertically through hierarchyWork is assigned to specialized units and coordinated by a manager. A hierarchy (vertical) of authority evolves from lower to higher levels. A manager can use the following principles of hierarchy of authority for integrating specialized units: The unity of command principle. Every worker should report to only one manager. The scalar principle. Decision making authority (and a chain of command) should be from the top to lower levels. Responsibility principle. A manager is accountable for the performance of his or her subordinates. In turn, subordinates are responsible to their manager for their performance.Determining the decision making levelA manager has to decide about the levels at which decisions are to be taken, and this would depend upon the type, impact and values of decisions.Deciding the span of controlSpan of control refers to the number of specialized activities or personnel supervised by one manager. There is no optimal number for a span of control and number of levels in the hierarchy. In fact, span of control and hierarchy levels are inter-related and depend on situational factors (Barkdull, 1963). Some of the important situational factors are: Similarity of functions. Complexity of supervised functions. Direction and control needed by subordinates. Coordination required by the manager. Planning required by the manager. Organizational help received by the manager.Methods to improve integrationThere are several ways to improve integration, the most common being through a hierarchy of authority. For this, specialized units whose activities are inter-related could be put under one manager.Coordination can also be improved through developing rules and procedures wherever possible, providing professional training, liaison roles, and use of professional committees involving managers from different specialized units.Using committees to improve coordination is more difficult than other methods, as it requires considerable skills in group dynamics and technical knowledge on the part of the chairperson of the committee. The person who takes this role must not be involved directly in the work, but tries to assist managers in improving integration.Process in the organization Power in the organization Communic


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