SOCY 151 - Lecture 20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority
Lecture 20 - Weber on Legal-Rational Authority
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.
Weber, Economy and Society, Chapter 3, pp. 217-226; 271-301