Lecture 20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority

recorded by: Yale University
published: June 24, 2012,   recorded: November 2009,   views: 2614
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The purest form--the ideal type--of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy. Legal-rational authority indicates that authority is invested in a set of rules and rule-bound institutions and that the creating and changing the rules are outside of the control of those who administer them; it does not mean, however, that the authority is democratic. Monarchs and even authoritarian leaders who recognize a set of laws external to their powers govern using legal-rational authority. The characteristics of bureaucracy include a fixed salary, posts based on technical skill rather than personal connections, a well-defined hierarchy, and continuous rules which bind the behavior of administrators and citizens or clients alike.

Reading assignment:

Weber, Economy and Society, Chapter 3, pp. 217-226; 271-301

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