• Weber was born in Erfurt, Germany. In 1882 Weber
enrolled in the University of Heidelberg as a law student.
Weber looked at sociology in terms of it being an
extensive science of social action and in the beginning he
would only focus on specific social contexts.
• During the First World War, Weber served for a time as
director of the army hospitals in Heidelberg. In 1915 and
1916 he sat on commissions that tried to retain German
supremacy in Belgium and Poland after the war. Weber's
views on war, as well as on expansion of the German
empire, changed throughout the war. He became a member
of the worker and soldier council of Heidelberg in 1918.
• Sociologist and political economist best known for his
thesis of the "Protestant Ethic," relating Protestantism to
capitalism, and for his ideas on bureaucracy. Through his
insistence on the need for objectivity in scholarship and his
analysis of human action in terms of motivation, Weber
profoundly influenced sociological theory.
Weber is looking at meanings in a social context (rather
than just psychology), where situations are interpreted and
meanings shared. Being focused on the matter of action in
the social situation, Weber distinguished four types:
• Affective action is emotional and spontaneous.
• Traditional action is continuing what was always
repetitive in history.
• Wertraditional action is rational action based on a value
• Zwekrational action is doing something to attain a
• Affective actionA
The Ideal Type:
• An ideal type is an analytical construct that serves the
investigator as a measuring rod to ascertain similarities as
well as deviations in concrete cases. It provides the basic
method for comparative study.
• Ideal types enable one to construct hypotheses linking
them with the conditions that brought the phenomenon or
event into prominence, or with consequences that follow
from its emergence.
• One major type of organization that has emerged in
modern, western society has been bureaucracy or
bureaucratic administration. This is the primary way that
rational-legal authority has developed in formal
organizations. The dominance of bureaucratic
organizations in modern society shows the effectiveness of
formal rationality as a way of organizing society. The
ideal type of formal bureaucracy has a continuous and
hierarchical organization of official functions or offices,
with rules that govern each positions and relationships in
the organization. Ten characteristics are associated such an
• a. Personally Free. People in such an organization are not
bound to others in a servant-master, slave-master, or
family relationship. They are free to leave the job, and the
corporation is free to end the individual’s contract with the
• b. Hierarchy. Offices or positions within the bureaucracy
are organized into a hierarchical system, where some have
more power than others. But the power is associated with
the position, not the individual.
• c. Clearly Defined Sphere of Competence. The office or
position carries with it a set of obligations to perform
various duties, the authority to carry out these duties, and
the means of compulsion required to do the job.
• d. Office Contractual. Positions are not associated with
particular people who have inherent rights to them, but are
associated with a particular contract governing duties,
expectations, rights, and other conditions associated with
doing the job.
• e. Technical Qualifications. The offices may carry with
them technical qualifications that require that the
participants obtain suitable training. Selection and
promotion is on the basis of ability to perform the technical
requirements of the job.
• f. Salaried. Wages or salaries are associated with the
position. These are likely to be part of the contract
associated with the position. Note how this allows for
calculation in terms of costs associated with the position.
• g. Primary Occupation. The individual filling the position
is expected to devote time and energy to the position, and
be devoted to the job.
• h. Career. Individuals in the bureaucracy expect to have a
career in the organization, and the organization is expected
to commit itself to promoting individuals in the
organization. This is to be done on the basis of technical
qualifications and abilities, and not on the basis of
friendship or personal likes and dislikes.
• i. No Ownership of Positions. The staff that fills the
offices does not own the means of production or
administration associated with the position. Those filling
the position cannot pass the position on to friends or family
and once their contract ends, they have no rights to any
aspect of the position. Individuals in the positions are
provided with the means to carry on the duties associated
with the position.
• j. Discipline. While those who are higher in the
bureaucratic hierarchy may be less subject to discipline
than those lower in the hierarchy, everyone is subject to
discipline. If the individual does not meet the requirements
of the position or breaks the rules, the individual may be
disciplined or removed from the position.
• Weber defines authority as legitimate forms of domination,
that is, forms of domination which followers or
subordinates consider to be legitimate. Legitimate does not
necessarily imply any sense of rationality, right, or natural
justice. Rather, domination is legitimate when the
subordinate accept, obey, and consider domination to be
desirable, or at least bearable and not worth challenging. It
is not so much the actions of the dominant that create this,
but rather the willingness of those who subordinate to
believe in the legitimacy of the claims of the dominant.
Weber outline three major types of legitimate domination:
traditional, charismatic, and legal or rational.
• He regards the development of rational forms to be one of
the most important characteristics of the development of
Western society and capitalism. Weber viewed traditional
and charismatic forms as irrational, or at least non-rational.
The latter may rely on religion, magic, or the supernatural
as a way of explaining the social world and authority may
also derive from these. These may have no systematic form
of development, but may rely on personal insight,
revelation, emotions and feelings, features that are non-
rational in form.
• Weber defines charismatic authority as "resting on
devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary
character of an individual person, and of the normative
patterns or order revealed or ordained by him" (Weber, p.
215).That is, charisma is a quality of an individual
personality that is considered extraordinary, and followers
may consider this quality to be endowed with supernatural,
superhuman, or exceptional powers or qualities. Whether
such powers actually exist or not is irrelevant – the fact
that followers believe that such powers exist is what is
• The charismatic leader gains and maintains authority
solely by proving his strength in life. If he wants to be a
prophet, he must perform miracles; if he wants to be a
war lord, he must perform heroic deeds. Above all,
however, his divine mission must 'prove' itself in that
those who faithfully surrender to him must fare well. If
they do not fare well, he is obviously not the master sent
by the gods.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of
• Weber shows that certain types of Protestantism favoured
rational pursuit of economic gain and that worldly
activities had been given positive spiritual and moral
meaning. It was not the goal of those religious ideas, but
rather a byproduct — the inherent logic of those doctrines
and the advice based upon them both directly and
indirectly encouraged planning and self-denial in the
pursuit of economic gain.
• In other words, the Protestant ethic was a force behind an
unplanned and uncoordinated mass action that influenced
the development of capitalism.
• He further noted that the spirit of capitalism could be
divorced from religion, and that those passionate capitalists
of his era were either passionate against the Church or at
least indifferent to it.The most common tendencies were
the greed for profit with minimum effort and the idea that
work was a curse and burden to be avoided especially
when it exceeded what was enough for modest life.
As he wrote in his essays:
In order that a manner of life well adapted to the
peculiarities of the capitalism… could come to
dominate others, it had to originate somewhere, and not
in isolated individuals alone, but as a way of life
common to the whole groups of man.
• Iron cage refers to the increasing rationalization of human
life, which traps individuals in an "iron cage" of rule-
based, rational control.
• Weber became concerned with social actions and the
subjective meaning that humans attach to their actions and
interaction within specific social contexts
Weber, M. , Toplumsal ve Ekonomik Örgütlenme Kuramı.
Weber, M. , Simmel, G. , Tönnies, F. , Martindale, D. ,
Şehir ve Cemiyet.