Key characteristics of bureaucracy.

Webers work dealt with such dominant socio-political institutions like religious authorities, the government, industrial corporations, etc. And in the case of the government, it is through bureaucracy that it interacts with the general population. Bureaucracy can generally be said to contain the following key characteristics: efficiency, organization, procedures, protocols, laws, regulation, regimentation, specialization, etc. Weber added his own perspectives to the understanding of this construct. Firstly, Weber was not wholly critical of bureaucracy. To the contrary, he saw several positive attributes attached to the ideal type. While admitting that even the ideal type bureaucracy can be construed as legal domination, he goes on to say that it is an advancement over earlier forms such as charismatic domination and traditional domination (Huber and Shipan, 2002). In its ideal conception, bureaucracy brings efficiency, organization and concentration of the means of administration. There is also a spirit of egalitarianism seen in this type, whereby the institution helps level the social and economic differences of the general population. On the flip side, the bureaucratic experience can be impersonal and inhumane at times.

Weber associated the rise of bureaucracy with the industrial revolution and the attendant flourishing of the capitalist system. Hence, he sees as connection between modernity, capitalism, urbanization and the bureaucratic rationalization of society. In his influential essays such as The City and Capitalism and Rural Society in Germany, Weber acknowledges the

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“disappearance of the sociological relevance of the urban-rural distinction.

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