The Management Theory of Max Weber

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The Max Weber theory of management, sometimes called bureaucratic management theory, is built on principles outlined by Frederick ...

The Max Weber theory of management, sometimes called bureaucratic management theory, is built on principles outlined by Frederick Taylor in his scientific management theory. Like Taylor, Weber advocated a system based on standardized procedures and a clear chain of command. Weber stressed efficiency, as did Taylor, but also warned of the danger of emphasizing technology at the expense of emotion.

Related Infographic: Popular Management Theories Decoded

One primary difference between Max Weber and management, and other theories of management, is that while Weber outlined the principles of an ideal bureaucracy, he also pointed out the dangers a true bureaucracy could face.

Key elements of the Max Weber management theory include:

  • Clearly defined job roles
  • A hierarchy of authority
  • Standardized procedures
  • Meticulous record-keeping
  • Hiring employees only if they meet the specific qualifications for a job

Related Article: Your Annual Review by Max Weber

Assess your company's existing management style

Before changing your company's leadership style, make sure it does need altering. A new style may sound promising, but maybe what you're doing now works just fine. An assessment can also help you identify strengths and weaknesses, so you can better determine what management theory is right for your organization.

Learn to assess a job candidate's skills

Central to Max Weber's management is the mandate to only hire employees who possess the specific skill set the job requires. Weber worried about the impact of nepotism, fearing companies would hire people not qualified for a job, and this would hinder the efficiency of the entire company. By accurately assessing an applicant's abilities, you ensure you hire only those who are a good fit for the job and the company.

Hire a consultant to help implement 

Adopting a new management style affects every level of your organization, and requires the cooperation of all employees. For such a major change, you may want to hire a consultant skilled not only in the management theory of Max Weber, but also in change management, to ensure the smoothest transition possible.

  • If you decide to implement the Weber management theory, make sure every employee, not just company leadership, understands what that means for them. Create a company-wide educational program, which will make employees feel they are an important part of the transition--and encourage greater participation in the change.

Image via Biography.com

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