Analyze the Criticism and Relevance of Weberian Model to the Modern Society.
Weberian Model of Modern Society:
After studies the bureaucracies of Egypt, Rome, China and Byzantine as well as Europe – formulated an “ideal type” model of bureaucratic form of organization. He wanted to construct an “ideal type” or a mental map of a. fully developed bureaucracy. But in real field it is not found. It is an imaginary.
However, Weber highlighted certain characteristics of his ideal type of bureaucracy. These are division of labor, set working procedures, consistent system of abstract rules, hierarchical structure, monthly salary, impersonal relations and official record. To Weber bureaucratic form of organization bring. highest degree of efficiency and stability applicable in the large, scale organization or in the capitalist system which require a stable state and a well organized administration.
Criticism of Weberian Concept of Bureaucracy:
Ideal type bureaucracy is a mental model:
Weber wanted to construct an “ideal type” or a fully well developed bureaucracy. The ideal type is a mental model that cannot be found in reality. It is concept conveying an image or an idea.
Weber’s concept of bureaucracy is against the principle of democracy. Weber analyzed the possible ill effects of a bureaucratic system while functioning in a democratic order. He noted that permanent officials may be inclined often to misuse their authority. Bureaucratization which tends to concentrate power in the hands of an administrative elite militates against the principles of democracy.
Too Rigid to Change:
Critics of weber’s bureaucratic model say that “the weberian model can best function in a stable environment with routine and repetitive tasks. Its capacity for adaptation to change is limited. The model is dysfunctional in terms of development and also in terms of jobs involving innovation and creativity.
In the developing countries where rapid change is required to bring about socio-economic transformation, the traditional structure of bureaucracy is misfit to meet the tasks. Thus the bureaucratic model is criticized as a too rigid and inflexible model to bring dynamic changes in the administration.
Ignores Informal Relationship:
Another important criticism against the Weberian model is that it ignores informal relationship, informal norms and values in the organization. It study only the formal bureaucratic structure.
Besides, the Weberian model has been criticized by several thinkers. According to the behavioral thinker, Herbert Simon and Chester Barnard administrative efficiency of an organization would be reduced by following Weber’s structural approach and that efficiency could be increased through informal organizations and better human relations.
Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph have also argued that the Weberian model is not necessarily the most rational and effective organizational structure in terms of efficiency. In his New Despotism, Lord Hewart argued that citizen rights and liberties are now in jeopardy because Weber’s bureaucrat exercises a lot of discretionary power which is against the principles of democracy.
Social scientists like Warren Bennis have also predicted that the bureaucratic form is outmoded and it is disappeared in the new developing societies.
Riggs also observed that Weber’s ideal type of bureaucracy assumes a relatively autonomous administrative system and thus, it is irrelevant to the developing societies. In the developing countries, the administrative structure do not enjoy sufficient autonomy from other social structure whereas in developed societies they are comparatively more autonomous. Weber’s, bureaucratic theory is also criticized system model over emphasizing the formal rational aspects of bureaucracy. It neglected the human behavior, relation, morale and motivational factor.
Max Weber has himself stated that a bureaucracy is the means of carrying community action over societal action. Therefore, as an instrument for socializing relationships of power, bureaucracy has been and is a powerful instrument of the first order R.K. Merton has argued that bureaucracy emphasis more on rules and regulations rather than on goals and objectives. It is marked by lack of public relations and class consciousness on the part of bureaurats.
Relevance of Weberian Model to the Modern Society:
In spite of these criticisms, Weberian model has its relevant to the modern society. This selection methods of official, fixed salaries system, promotion, and career advancement, pension scheme and provident fund system are also seen in the present modern society.
Now-a-days all developed or developing countries are followed these system in their administration. His hierarchical system of administration, formulation of rules and regulations, and division of labor in a number of specialized functions are now used in all types of administration. Whether it is capitalist society or socialist society, we find the bureaucracy everywhere. Even in the present context of liberalization and privatization, there is the necessity of bureaucracy to perform some of the functions of the state. Without bureaucrat it is impossible to implement all welfare and developmental programmes.
No democracy can function without bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has made administration more efficient, rational, impartial and consistent. In the modern state, people look to the bureaucracy for their day to day requirements. Hence, Weberian model of bureaucracy has relevance even today.