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Date Posted: 09:13:20 12/28/04 Tue
Subject: Max Weber
Found an interesting Web site:
Max Weber's Home Page – "A site for undergraduates"
Much of Weber's socilogical observations can be transferred to UBF. Quote:
According to the "iron law" democracy and large scale organization are incompatible. Any large organization, Michels pointed out, is faced with problems of coordination that can be solved only by creating a bureaucracy. A bureaucracy, by design, is hierarchically organized to achieve efficiency--many decisions that have to be made every day cannot be made by large numbers of people in an efficient manner. The effective functioning of an organization therefore requires the concentration of much power in the hands of a few people.
The organizational characteristics that promote oligarchy are reinforced by certain characteristics of both leaders and members of organizations. People achieve leadership positions precisely because they have unusual political skill; they are adept at getting their way and persuading others of the correctness of their views. Once they hold high office, their power and prestige is further increased. Leaders have access and control over information and facilities that are not available to the rank-and-file. They control the information that flows down the channels of communication. Leaders are also strongly motivated to persuade the organization of the rightness of their views, and they use all of their skills, power and authority to do so.
By design of the organization, rank and file are less informed than their "superiors." Finally, from birth, we are taught to obey those in positions of authority. Therefore, the rank and file tend to look to the leaders for policy directives and are generally prepared to allow leaders to exercise their judgment on most matters.
Leaders also have control over very powerful negative and positive sanctions to promote the behavior that they desire. They have the power to grant or deny raises, assign workloads, fire, demote and that most gratifying of all sanctions, the power to promote. Most important, they tend to promote junior officials who share their opinions, with the result that the oligarchy become a self-perpetuating one. Therefore, the very nature of large scale organization makes oligarchy within these organizations inevitable. Bureaucracy, by design, promotes the centralization of power in the hands of those at the top of the organization.
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