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The Practical Form Of Social Organization Later Known As Bureaucracy, Max Weber And The Idea Of Bureaucracy

The idea of bureaucracy formally begins with Max Weber (1864–1920); indeed, the idea of bureaucracy ends with Weber as well. Prior to Weber's explication of the "ideal type" of rational, efficient organization of public or private business as a bureaucracy, the idea was simply a commonsense, practical method for the organization of economic or government action. While the original idea of bureaucracy was a prescription for social organization for both public and private organizations, the contemporary usage of the term is limited nearly exclusively to public organizations.

The association between Weber and the concept of bureaucracy is readily apparent; however, Weber himself did not explicate a definition of bureaucracy as such. Rather, he simply elaborated on a form of social organization according to specific characteristics and suggested that these were the elements of what would become bureaucracy. It is important to note that Weber was a sociologist committed to explaining the organizational forms within the world around him; bureaucratic forms of social organization were certainly in existence before Weber's ideal typology came to light.

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