The sources of legitimate authority

The sources of legitimate authority

According to Slattery, Weber noted that there were six main features of ideal Bureaucracy. These are Hierarchy, which states that formal hierarchy must be in existence for there to be an ideal bureaucracy. Second, are rules, which he says for there to be a bureaucratic structure in existence, strict rules of power are necessary to have plenty of control with respect to decision-making. Third, is function, in which, he says relates to order and organisation for proper functioning of the bureaucracy. Forth, is focus, which Slattery says, serves to fulfil the wants of the members. Fifth, is qualification, which is stated as being related to employment standards and relies on qualifications. Last, is impersonal, and Slattery says that according to weber it relates to how employees are treated as well as other members and clients of the bureaucracy.

Some of the forces or challenges that may undermine the rational bureaucratic model as noted expressed by Slattery may tend to create certain negative consequences. He notes in particular, inefficiencies, which are created by the bureaucratic adherence to the rules in a slave to master manner, fear to change, and conservatism. The other one is incapability to change the structure as a result, of vested reward and incentive systems. This is coupled with dependence of the society on the expertise provided by the bureaucratic system.

Weber says that under normal conditions, powers of fully established bureaucracy are at most times over soaring. He says that in the modern society, power is rational, meaning it is a legal authority and it is not based on a person’s Charisma or traditions. In giving example of North America, he says that the power of the elected people is based on the posts they hold and not in themselves. They have the authority to give orders while they are in those offices, but once they leave the offices, these powers are taken away and at the same time, the powers are within the comfort of their subordinates. In the office, the individuals are servants and they are obligated to execute their powers faithfully and be obedient to those above them.

According to Weber, alternative traditional and charismatic sources of legitimate authority are easily found in the vocabulary of the early Christianity. He says that the Christian organisations, and he give example of the Rudolf Sohm, was the first to clarify the substance of concept.  He says that these can be used as an alternative source as the three he discusses do not occupy any historical case; it is valid to attempt their conceptual formulation in the possible form. He says that there are certain advantages, which are utilizable and thus should not be minimised. In contract to the rational bureaucratic models, the alternative draws their authority from the practices of the early Christianity, when the church used to have ultimate authority. The rational model differs with this in that the assumption of the model is that legitimacy is drawn from or is seen to originate from legal orders as well as the laws enacted. Those exercising the legitimacy do so under the guidelines of the enacted laws and set rules. The Christian practices of the early church are seen to incline more to the charismatic sources under which the individual is seen as the law. In the rational model the when the individual is removed from authority, the legitimacy and the powers are taken away from him.

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