Your Annual Review by Max Weber / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

With horizontal organizational structures becoming more popular, Max Weber lays down the hammer and sets the rules straight.

Editor's note: Max Weber was one the founders of sociology and is also known as the father of bureaucratic management theory. Weber stressed efficiency and structure; he advocated a system based on standardized procedures and a clear chain of command. Here is a fictional review that we think Max Weber would give a subordinate based on his teachings in management. Best when read in early 20th century accent.

Dear Subservient Employee,

As you heard in your annual reprimand this morning, things need to change around here. This past year has been too relaxed and unceremonious, with too many open doors, too much collaborating between ranks, and an insufficient amount of record-keeping. I’ve said it time and time before, especially in my book The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, that the best organization is one that adheres to a strict set of rules placed by those at the top of the hierarchy (i.e. myself).

Related Article: The Management Theory of Max Weber

I do realize the de-humanizing dangers of implementing a pure bureaucracy; however, I do think it’s the best method to establish any efficiency within this organization. Engine-like productivity is how products are made and sold, not from that collective idea-sharing, hippy crap. As I once said, “Precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs—these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration.”

I say these things because you, along with others on the executive team, need to change immediately. I’ve overheard you intermingling with those more powerful than yourself, “pitching a cool new idea”, as you put it. This is not acceptable. You will reread your job requirements immediately and never stray outside of your assigned responsibilities.

I’ve also witnessed other behaviors that need to be nixed. For one, I’ve only been receiving “summaries” of reports at the end of the month, and “estimations” of costs and revenue per day. This has led to arguments and confusing conversations. Moving forward I expect nothing but the most meticulous of record keeping. And about your tendency to meander throughout the office, working in meeting rooms and empty areas “when you feel like it”? Intolerable. What if I need to speak to you on an urgent matter but cannot find your whereabouts??

Related Article: Popular Management Theories Decoded

Now, since I believe in a promotional system based solely on my superior, authoritative judgment, I will be possibly promoting you and increasing your salary in 2016 if, and only if, you subject yourself to discipline and my authority. This means you’ll be keeping a stricter account of your hours and activities. From this point forward you’ll be sending me daily reports on what you’ve spent and accomplished in the hours prior. Also, to avoid office roaming, you’ll be assigned a fixed cubicle where you will work until l I say so. And no more sharing your supposed grand ideas with higher-ups.

I will also be changing our hiring process, to avoid any and all nepotism going on here. I feel that many of our employees were hired based on partiality and prior favoritism, and are kinks in our mechanical workflow. Form now we will scrutinize the skills of candidates so that we acquire new employees based on skill rather than friendship.

If anything is unclear, please submit a request to speak with me. Do not just leave your desk and barge in my office unannounced.

Your superior,

Max Weber

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