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Max Weber - Pioneer of Sociology and Social Science in General

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The essence of bureaucracy is hierarchy. Every organization should be ladder organized and aware of the different roles that everyone has within the company. A theory called the “Bureaucratic theory” by Max Weber shows that people need to have defined roles within the organization and execute the tasks with as much accuracy as possible like an assembly-line production work for example, as popularised by Henry Ford when making the Ford T in 1908, this work type has been vastly used throughout the 20th century especially in the car industry. Today, people are becoming more polyvalent and are not assigned anymore to one specific task. Weber disapproved sharing ideas, collaboration, creative thinking and brainstorming because it disrupts the hierarchy in place. Nowadays, collaboration is essential for a company to strive with a workplace being more and more diverse, as Helen Keller said: “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”. Depending on their cultural background, they may have a different answer to the solution. This theory may have worked one century ago, because workplaces were not as diverse as today.

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Another aspect of the bureaucratic theory is that a meticulous record-keeping must be implemented. Thus, providing the employer with all the information he needs to lead his company efficiently. For example, from the total number of hours that employees worked to the smallest transaction ever made by the company. A great example of this is kolkhozes. In the Soviet Union, State supervised farms called kolkhozes needed to respect a five-year plan where objectives needed to be respected. Brigades were assigned specific tasks to fulfill these objectives. When accomplished, the brigade leader transmitted the results to the landlord who kept an accurate record of the work done in order to satisfy the State’s ambition.

Max Weber explained that the workplace should remain impersonal to avoid preferential treatment and external involvement that could harm the company. The company must not be refrained by personal issues, therefore avoiding nepotism and informal relationships whereas nowadays, companies tend to care about the feelings of their employees. The workforce, millennials especially, are volatile. They need to keep as much potential as they can within their ranks. Forbes made a ranking that showed the companies that treated best their employees, they all had a thing in common and it’s treating employees like people, listening to them, encouraging them and making them thrive in the best way they possibly can.

People are hired depending on their capabilities. Thus, the contrast with today where companies are searching for capable and agreeable employees. A great example of people hired based on their skill is the Modern US Army where bureaucracy is thriving. Indeed, the hierarchy is strong, and soldiers are split into brigades where they must obey to orders.

The theory can apply to disciplinary environments like the Army. Today, people do not have the same mindset anymore. They do not want to work mindlessly, doing the same thing repeatedly throughout their working life. Therefore, the decrease in popularity for bureaucracy.

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