This excerpt is the mother lode as far as Weber is concerned. In it we have his ideas on power, authority, and legitimacy, the nature of legal authority, the structure of the state administrative bureaucracy, the ideal type bureaucracy, tradition, charisma, and the routinization of charisma. A veritable greatest hits collection.
One might say that the Weber "gambit" is to generate insights by making distinctions. In this selection he starts with the general concept of power or domination - the capacity to make other people do things regardless of what they want. He then points out that in most cases of real world power, the person who is subject to a power is often implicated in some way in the power relationship. The subordinate makes a grant of power, submitting is a social action.
"…every genuine form of domination implies a minimum of voluntary compliance, that is, an interest in compliance."
Point 2, most forms of domination require a staff. But securing the loyalty of staff is challenging. Simply paying staff is not a particularly stable form of organization. And just having them love the leader doesn't always cut it. At some point they have to believe in the authority, it's legitimacy.
Authority is legitimate domination.
What the legitimacy is based on has big effect on how the domination works.
The distinction comes down to THE GROUNDS: rational, traditional, charismatic.
- Domination = probability command(s) will be obeyed. Subtype of power and influence. Wide variation in basis. Always a measure of “voluntary compliance”
- D of groups takes staff. Staff obey from custom, affect, or pay & this determines type of domination. But legitimacy also needed.
- D rarely relies on custom, affect, or pay alone. Everything about social organization of D seems to depend on basis of legitimacy claim.
- Legitimacy is a reasonable basis for classifying types of domination.
- Authority relationship is a broad category.
- Mere “power over” not same as authority. A involves command and obedience. But there are gradations in real world.
- People obey for different “real” reasons. What’s important is how basis for validity of authority is related to “means of its exercise.”
- Effects of domination as social phenomenon extend throughout society.
- Ideology of “leader as servant” does not change this analysis.
- Three types of basis for legitimate authority: rational; traditional; charismatic.
- Rational = legal authority based on rules.
- Traditional = based on belief in sanctity of “the way it’s always been done.”
- Charismatic = based on exceptional character of an individual
- Variations across types in person obeyed and what determines range of things covered.
Structure of Excerpt
This excerpt has several parts. First we get "domination" — it's being distinguished from power and influence. Then, three types of authority (legitimate domination). The outline looks like this:
- Domination and Legitimacy
- Three Pure Types of Authority
- Legal Authority
- Monocratic Bureaucracy
- Traditional Authority
- Charismatic Authority
- The Routinization of Charisma
Paragraph by Paragraph
Domination and Legitimacy
- Defining domination (power)
- Inclusion of compliance – some degree of voluntariness – makes it social relation (103.4)
- 103.4 Domination requires that the dominated have an interest in compliance.
To dominate large numbers requires a staff. Creates principal/agent problems (103.5)
103.6 The staff for securing dominance is connected to superior through custom, affection, material interests, or ideals.
103.8 Affiliation with superior through calculations of advantage is not a strong enough tie. Belief in legitimacy necessary.
Variables in existence/exercise of domination (104.1)
Kind of legitimacy
Type of obedience
Kind of staff
Mode of exercising authority
Three Pure Types of Authority (104.3)
- 104.1 Every domination strives to establish and cultivate a belief in its own legitimacy.
- 104.3 Rational grounds: claim to legitimacy based on public belief in legality of the rules authority came to command under.
- 104.5 Traditional authority rests on belief in tradition. Chief is given power through societal loyalty to what his position.
- 104.7 Charismatic authority rests on leaders merits (heroism, sanctity, exemplary qualities) leader must believe in himself.
Legal Authority (104.8)
- 104.8 (1) agreed upon rules have claim to obedience from organization members or those in region of territorial jurisdiction.
- 105.2 (2) Law: established rules that shape the way in which the governing group pursues the interests of the organization.
- 105.3 (3) The person in authority must also abide by the set rules, with his actions, disposition, and commands.
- 105.4 (4) Through obeying a law, a person obeys the authority that put it into law.
- 105.4 (4) Through obeying the law, a person obeys the authority that put it into law as well.
- 105.5 Obedience not owed to superior, but the impersonal order. Thus, ruler jurisdiction is only in sphere of influence given.
- 105.6 Fundamental categories of rational legal authority: 1. Official business conducted based on rules.
- 105.7 (2) Division of labor based on competence, training for new authority figures, means of persuasion defined, regulated.
- 105.8 (3) These divisions follow principals of higherarchy with lower offices under control of higher ones.
- 106.2 (4) Administrative staff of rational organizations are â€œofficialsâ€ because of training they go through to be appointed.
- 106.3 (5) The officialâ€™s personal $s and residence, separate from place of work, which is provided and equipped for his use.
- 106.5 (6) The focus of the office is not decided by office superior. His job is to set the tone for efficient work.
- 106.7 (7) Discussions, proposals, and final decisions are recorded in writing even when discussed verbally.
- 106.8 (8) The purest and most obvious structure of legal authority domination is â€œbureaucracyâ€.
- 106.9 Authority figures can belong to categories other than the rational categorization of bureaucracy, such as charismatic.
- 107.2 Legal administration staff is applicable to many situations and is the most important mechanism for every day affairs.
- 107.3 Monocracy: system with a supreme authority (only influential in sphere of competence), individual officials underneath.
- 108.1 "Collegal" can apply to many fields; business, charitable org, private enterprise, political/hierarchical organizations.
- 108.2 Historical existence of bureaucracy: clinics, endowed/religious hospitals, catholic priesthoods, and armies.
- 108.5 Purest form of bureaucracy is when officials are appointed, not elected, because if elected, the hierarchy is lost.
- 108.6 Free contract/selection are essential to bureaucracy. Structure w/ unfree official is called a patrimonial bureaucracy.
- 108.7 Technical qualifications needed. Ministers/presidents only modern officials w/o. Bureaucracy needs unbureaucratic head.
- 109.2 The bureaucratic official usually receives a salary of money. However, variations on this pure type exist.
Monocratic Bureaucracy (109.3)
- 109.4 Monocratic Bureaucracy most efficient, thus, most rational means of authority. Stable, precise, reliable, disciplined.
- 109.4 Monocratic bureaucracyâ€™s superiority, capitalistic or socialistic, in itâ€™s indispensable use of technological knowledge.
- 109.6 Monocratic bureaucracy at the root of the modern western state. We could not function w/o officials working in offices.
- 109.6 Monocratic bureaucracy at the root of the modern western state. We could not function w/o officials working in offices.
- 109.8 Monocratic bureaucracyâ€™s superiority, whether capitalistic or socialistic, lies in its use of technological knowledge.
- 110.2 Those who fight to get rid of old replace it with new bureaucracy, and use old machinery to function for new government.
- 110.4 Specialization is key to the bureaucratic machine.
- 110.5 Though the systems developed separately, the fiscal system of capitalism is the best base for bureaucracy.
- 110.7 Communication and transportation also important. Would socialism be able to provide these conditions?
- 110.9 Bureaucracy = domination through knowledge, both technical and factual, the products of striving for power.
- 111.3 Capitalist entrepreneurs superior in specific knowledge, thus relatively immune to bureaucratic control.
- 111.4 Social consequences of bureaucracy: social leveling/ specialize for money not interest/ spirit of formal impersonality.
- 111.6 Bureaucracy can help democracy by leveling statuses in society and disallowing honorary positions or rule from wealth.
- 111.7 Bureaucratic spirit: formalism to protect advantages already secured/ even formalistic regulations to help subordinates.
Traditional Authority (112.2)
- 112.3 Traditional authority based on personal loyalty to master stemming from common upbringing of society.
- 112.5 Obedience to authority figure himself. Legitimacy from traditional limits of position or masterâ€™s discretion of power.
- 112.7 Revolution against traditionalist authority against ruler personally, not ruling system.
- 112.9 New rules must be put in terms of traditional ways of being.
- 113.2 A master rules whether he has an administrative staff or not.
- 113.3 Administrative staff from picked from: patrimonial recruits (traditional ties) or extra-patrimonial (voluntary).
- 113.5 Not in traditional rule: free appointment, rational hierarchy, technical training, salary in money.
- 113.7 When assignments get stereotyped into functional spheres, this is when administrative organs come into being.
- 113.9 Appointments may be based on whim of master, then get traditionally embedded. Result = irrational delineation of work.
- 114.2 Setting permanent functions as result of competition impacted history: financial interests in England curbed Roman law.
- 114.3 Decisions about who will deal with a situation decided by traditional roles, or by the masterâ€™s discretion.
- 114.5 Recruits were taken from patrimonial dependents until rise of contracts of fealty. Promotion up to masterâ€™s discretion.
- 114.7 Technical training nonexistent. When there is training, regardless of position, it results in fundamental changes.
- 114.8 The training in China to read served to limit rulerâ€™s power by confronting him with a status group (none patrimonial).
- 114.9 Officials provide for by the master, pay consistent fees. Those who are not, rely on fees from people seeking favors.
Charismatic Authority (115.2)
- 115.3 Those with charismatic authority have followers based on personality traits considered to be exceptional.
- 115.5 Types of charismatic authority: the berserk, the shaman, the persuasive, the litterateur (overwhelmed by own success).
- 115.8 Basis of claim to legitimacy: the duty of the subjects to have complete personal devotion to the possessor of charisma.
- 115.9 Charismatic leaders see individuals who resist authority as not fulfilling their duty.
- 116.2 If a leaderâ€™s powers appear to have deserted him, and his leadership ceases to help his followers, his power dissolves.
- 116.4 In this system, there are no individual careers, only people obeying a leader. This is a charismatic community.
- 116.7 Followers live on means provided by leader. No formal rules or laws, but also no legal wisdom.
- 116.8 New judgments or obligations presented as revelations in order to be recognized by members.
- 117.2 Conflict between authority is resolved by magical/physical contest. One contestant right, other wrong. No middle ground.
- 117.3 Bureaucratic= rationality + rules/ Charismatic= irrational + no rules/ Traditional= rules from the past (handed down)
- 117.4 Charismatic authority exceptionally revolutionary because legitimacy not placed on possessions, but charisma.
- 117.6 Revenue from charismatic by means of extortion, bribery and donations, not a focus on economics and regular income.
- 118.3 Missionaries and Jesuits belong to the charismatic category.
- 118.6 Charisma and reason both revolutionary forces. Charisma effecting from within, reason from without.
The Routinization of Charisma (118.7)
- 118.8 For charismatic authority to become stable, it must become either traditionalized, rationalized, or both.
- 119.1 Underlying transformation: interests of followers + those of staff to achieve a stable basis + secure social position.
- 119.3 These Transformative principals become apparent during the problem of succession when the 1st charismatic leader dies.
- 119.4 a) new leader picked on basis of characteristics. Result: traditionalization (personal character of leader is reduced).
- 119.6 b) use of a technique of selection (oracle, lots) legitimacy of new leader based on legitimacy of technique of selection
- 119.7 c) original leader designates successor. (common) Legitimacy acquired through the designation.
- 119.8 d) designation of correct successor by qualified administrative staff through his recognition by the community.
- 120.2 Legitimacy of appointed determined by correctness of means of acquiring position. Also, by formalities like coronation.
- 120.3 Modern concept of election comes from coronation of kings in the western world.
- 120.4 e) with idea of charisma transmitted by heredity, it may be necessary to select heir from kinsmen by previous methods.
- 120.7 Hereditary charisma may lead to traditionalization or legalization of power. Personal charisma may be totally absent.
- 120.9 f) when charisma transferred or created through magic, legitimacy now based on the effectiveness of transferal ritual.
- Revolution against traditionalist authority against ruler personally, not ruling system.
Included page "notes:weber-routinization-of-charisma" does not exist (create it now)
Weber begins by defining domination distinguishing it from power and influence, which he says are bigger categories. The German for domination here is "Herrschaft" which could be literally translated as "lordship" as in "lordship over." This heavy-handed etymology is useful here because it implies that we really are talking about a social relationship. For Weber, too, an important component of domination or authority is that it includes a subjective role for the dominated: Weber says it always "implies a minimum of voluntary compliance, that is an interest (based on ulterior motives or genuine acceptance" in obedience" (Weber 2010, 116.3, emphasis in original). Weber's point here is that in the case of authority relations, there is subjective action on both sides of the relationship.
Domination over groups of people requires a staff. The problem is how to maintain staff loyalty. Loyalty can be achieved "by custom, by affectual ties, by a purely material complex of interests, or by ideal (wertrationale) motives" (116.5), in other words, custom, affect, pay, or beliefs. But no matter the basis, more — legitimacy — is needed. Based on experience, Weber notes, different kinds of legitimacy give rise to different "type[s] of obedience," "kind[s] of administrative staff," and "mode[s] of exercising authority" (116.7). (Weber's analytical precision starts to show through here. We might note that this is a suggestion of four dimensions or components of domination: 1) type of obedience (wdtm?); 2) kind of staff (read "organization of staff"); 3) mode of authority exercise (wdtm?); 4) "variation in effect.")
Some Meta-Theoretical Considerations
(para 5) The concept of authority represents a continuum of types of social relationships. It is present to a different degree in different realms governed by law and custom, but we'd say it exists whenever there is some degree of "voluntariness" on the side of the subject. Just having power — as when a bank exercises monopolistic control — is not enough to call it "authority" per se (para 6, 117.5).
Sociologically we are interested in the patterns of people obeying commands and the overall basis of the claim that the commands are legitimate. Even if people only obey cynically, we can still try to ascertain how the supposed validity of the commands is framed (para 7, 117.7). And further, even if the ultimate subjects of a ruler are so powerless that we cannot talk about them in these terms, the staff that the rule uses to control them will be loyal to him on the basis of something and this can be examined in terms of types of legitimate authority.
Weber continues with a definition of "obedience": when the action of the person obeying follows the "content of the command" enough that you can identify one with the other and that this comes from the fact of the command not the actors own intentions. In other words, we would not call it obedience if A tells B to do something B was going to do anyway (para 9, 118.3). Still, the subjective experience of "obeying" can vary, but this doesn't affect our efforts to categorize here (para 10, 118.4). Neither, for that matter does the fact that in some systems we talk about leaders as "servants" of the lead (para 12, 118.5).
III The Pure Types
- Rationally based authority rests on belief in rules and we obey persons who are elevated, by rules, to position of authority.
- Tradition based authority rests on "the way it's always been" and we obey individuals granted authority by tradition.
- Charismatic authority rests on the exceptional qualities of a particular person.
In each case, the "authority" specifies both who has it and what it covers.
Included page "notes:weber-bureaucracy-vocabulary" does not exist (create it now)
Last problem was 0480 (HELP)
Q378. "From an economic point of view, coercion is simply too expensive to be the sole basis of social order" (Hechter and Horne, 85). Explain what this is getting at. How does it lead us to Weber's concept of legitimate domination.
Q387. Explain the following words/terms as used in Weber's excerpt on types of legitimate domination:
material interests (103.6)
abstract rules (105.2)
impersonal order (105.3)
rationally delimited jurisdiction (105.5)
[absence of] "appropriation of his official position by the incumbent" (106.4)
administrative staff (107.2)
"principle of appointment" (108.5)
"red tape" (109.7)
sine ira et studio (111.5) - See Wikipedia
utilitarian expediency (112.7)
patrimonial (113.4) - See Wikipedia
formal system of rules (116.7)
routinization of charisma (118.7)
Q388. Explain what Weber means by legal authority.
Q389. Explain what Weber means by traditional authority.
Q390. Explain what Weber means by charismatic authority.
Q391. Weber describes "monocratic bureaucracy" as an ideal type. What is an ideal type? Describe the five characteristics of an ideal typical bureaucracy.
Q392. Weber suggests that bureaucratic domination is marked by "the dominance of a spirit of formalistic impersonality" (111.45). Explain.
Q393. What does Weber mean by "social levelling"? (111)
Q394. What does Weber mean by "the routinization of charisma"? (118ff)
Q405. Weber says (103.5) that "rule over a considerable number of persons requires a staff…." If you read carefully you will see that the types of "authority" he is talking about refer to the leader's capacity to control and direct the staff as much as to the leader's capacity to dominate "the led." Discuss Weber's types of legitimate domination as forms of maintaining organizational integrity.
Q407. Weber's definition, please:
Q426. Weber's definition, please:
rational legal authority
- 0333 Weber: Types of Social Action
- Hierarchy As Solution To Problem Of Order
- Weber, Max. 1921. "Types of Social Action" (r002)
- Notes on Weber's "Ideal Type"
- Weber Politics As A Vocation From Ssr Archive
- Weber's Protestant Ethic: A Short Outline
- Collins: "The Nonrational Foundations of Rationality"
- Weber Bureaucracy Vocabulary
- Weber Routinization Of Charisma