How do Weberian and Marxist Approaches Explain the Relationship Between the Rise of Bureaucracy (as a logic of administration) and Capitalism?


Weber tries to explain the world in his perspective and he provides many tools that help us to understand not only his era but also today’s. His conceptions like the typology of authority, reutilization of charisma, disenchantment of the world, rationalization, bureaucracy, capitalism are the main concepts that are referred to Weber by the people who are in the area of management and politics. Therefore, understanding Weber is very important to understand many concepts that have still been discussed today but rooted in the past like modernity, rationalization, capitalism, bureaucracy.

We have to analyze weberian types of authority to clearly understand his contributions about especially bureaucracy and capitalism. Weber classified types of authority according to legitimacy. Thus, there are three pure types of legitimate authority: rational-legal, traditional and charismatic. Traditional authority: This type of authority rests on an established belief that leaders have a traditional and legitimate right to exercise authority, where different traditional circumstances enable and legitimize those in command to exercise authority. This traditional authority gives rise to patrimonial systems like e.g. patriarchal and feudalistic systems and societies. These systems are however dependent upon the followers’ acceptance of this authority, and that the followers see this type of authority as legitimate. Rational-legal authority: This type of authority rests on the belief in the “legality” of formal rules and hierarchies, and in the right of those elevated in the hierarchy to possess authority and issue commands. This type of authority is often seen as legitimate in bureaucratic systems, which enables impersonal, specific and formal structures of modern companies. People will hence find this type of authority legitimate, if the authority is distributed to leaders based on e.g. rationality and capability. Charismatic authority: This type of authority rests on the belief in an exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual, and on the normative patterns or orders revealed and issued by him or her. Charismatic leaders are often seen as legitimate in times of crisis or change when extraordinary leadership is called for, and when this extraordinary leadership is recognized in the specific authorial figure by followers. According to Max Weber, only the traditional and rational-legal types of authority relationships are stable enough to provide the fundament for permanent administrative structures such as e.g. business organizations. Structures formed on charismatic authority, will therefore most like need to evolve into more stable forms of authority. We turn back rational-legal authority to understand the relationships between bureaucracy and capitalism. People obey the institutions, not person and they adapt to law, so members of authority gain power from institutions who is tied law. There is obedience to order. Institutions are gaining power in the field of management and state is governed by the bureaucracy. Bureaucrat is not much important; in fact bureaucracy is much important as an institution of state. This form of authority is the key concepts for weber’s analyzes of capitalism. Weber applies the concept of rationality for the capitalist economic activity, private ownership and bureaucratic authority. In this context, weber makes analyzes of capitalism with legal authority which is the form of organization in relation to the concept of bureaucracy. According to weber, it is only from a technical point of bureaucracy to achieve high levels of productivity and this sense the most ration is seen application known to established authority over the people. Accuracy, stability, disciplines and structure on the basis of reliability, technical knowledge and information based on the use of audit approach makes it the most rational vehicle. This is a rational tool for companies which trade on the organization’s management and its implications for the organization makes a large extent can be calculated, this leads to shape bureaucracy that puts on indispensable management. (Aron,2006:367-368). Weber established a connection between capitalism and bureaucracy at this point. Weberian thought processes is posited parallel to the bureaucratization of society with capitalist of society. According to weber, capitalism creates something unique rationality in the western society. Rational society of capitalism covered the most effective tools in achieving the values that are accepted in the society systematically organized in a manner. The shape of the organization, as a basic feature of western capitalism that makes up the historical profits at the request of a structure makes it possible to merge the rational discipline. Characteristics of bureaucratic organization provide informality and computability for capitalism. What the development of capitalism is said still say in the process of development of bureaucracy. Capitalist system played a most important role in the development of bureaucracy. According to weber, bureaucracy is one of the conditions of continued capitalist system of production, also one of the conditions of existence of the capitalist system. Capitalism is the most rational economic basis for bureaucracy administration to create a financial resources and this leads to develop bureaucratic management.  (Weber, 2005:52). Besides Weber’s theory of bureaucracy suggest to organizations which are faced with problem in the bureaucratic structure. Weber advocates increase productivity through specialization and division of labor; he said that bureaucracy is known most efficient type of organization which is established by legal-rational management. Max weber’s ideal bureaucracies, bureaucratic organizations, carry necessary principles. If bureaucratic organizations adopt and implement these principles and bureaucracy became rational approach the concept of bureaucracy. Concepts mentioned below: a-) Regulated jurisdiction              b-) Duty hierarchy and authority graduation           c-) Management be based on written documents d-) Powers and duties specialization e-) Commitment to the rules and formality f-) impersonality g-) Career structure           h-) Decomposition of public and private life

According to Marx theory, bureaucracy has begun to generate a period of decline absolute monarch within the framework of a systematic and hierarchical division of labor. Bureaucracy is an essential organ of the bourgeois state power. It has been most effective weapon against medieval ruins blocking capitalist development. Bureaucracy is as a means of emancipation of the working middle-class society from feudalism. The state capital transformed into an instrument of enslavement of labor because of conjunction with the finalization of the contradiction between the bourgeois and the proletariat. Marx did not deal with a comprehensive and systematic theory of the state in order to create view of government and bureaucracy, he just criticize Hegel’s philosophy of government. According to Hegel, public management is seen as a bridge between the state and civil society. Civil society covers in various professions, companies and institutions that represent the interests of different. Bureaucracy is located between the state and society, general interests of state which are transformed each other by bureaucracy. According to Marx, the bureaucracy has shown a quality change by saving the ruins of feudal society. The main tasks of the bureaucracy protect the privileges of their masters and the current status quo. In this respect, more bureaucracy and bureaucratization when it is examined, it becomes inevitable in a society that separated classes. First of all, government has to keep the most common symptoms toss the junk under control every aspect of the society. Sizeable and inclusive bureaucracy primarily provides them. Secondly, state organs gradually are centrist, state turned into a heap which is source of livelihood for a large number of people because of the extreme reach of centrism. In this context, institutionalized bureaucracy is the main tool to protect the state and continues to oversee the job. Bureaucracy which is increasing direct and indirect printing methods is synonymous with the state which fed irresponsible heavy taxes, this leads to a strong public power for bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is last period the management of the bourgeois and it provides state to consume the life of management. Marxian thinkers and practitioners such as Lenin have estimated three major measures for the destruction of the bureaucracy. 1- ) when all fees reduced ‘’average worker wage’’, the privileged status of public official disappear. 2- )  unity of the powers is adopted by abandoning the separate of power and all the people participate management to some extend and they know managing not managed. 3-) best people should be selected for job and those who are not well disposed all the time and thus, there should be a recall system for public. In summary, Marxist theory of the state and bureaucracy reach result which proletariat destroyed bourgeois by passing to establish political domination thanks to conquest of political power. The destruction of the bourgeoisie class contradictions will disappear. State is now useless and impossible to maintain the current status in the future. State will be destroyed due to the occurrence of the proletarian. According to this view, the disappearance of the state is inevitable. Therefore, the government and the bureaucracy which is unnecessary and nonfunctional institutions will disappear spontaneously.

In conclusion, in the light of the this information mentioned above, I indicate Marxist and weberian paradigm about state to understand clearly Weberian and Marxist approaches about the relationship between the rise of bureaucracy (as a logic of administration) and capitalism. First of all, I will begin to explain weberian paradigm about state approach. Weber said that states conceived as organizations claiming control over territories and people may formulate and pursue goals that are not simply reflective of the demands or interests of social groups, classes or society. This is what is usually meant by ‘’state autonomy’’. The state as an actor an institution has been highlighted in an extraordinary outpouring of studies by scholars of diverse theoretical proclivities from all of the major disciplines. The state must be considered as more than the ‘’government’’. It is the continuous administrative, legal, bureaucracy and coercive systems that attempt not only to structure relationships between civil society and public authority in a polity but also to structure many crucial relationships within civil society as well. (Skocpol, 12-16) Marx considered the state to be a sphere of social life not only separate from, but also opposed to civil society.

For Marx, this contradiction between the state and civil society is characteristic of a society divided against itself, in which the functions of government are administered against society. Marx writes, “The ‘police’, the ‘judiciary’, and the ‘administration’ are not the representatives of a civil society which administers its own universal interests in them and through them; they are the representatives of the state and their task is to administer the state against civil society.” Furthermore, the idea of the general interest of all citizens being realized within the bourgeois state was a fiction to begin with. Firstly, the “bureaucrats,” who perform state activities, use the general powers of the state to pursue their own particular interests within the state hierarchy. Marx writes, “As for the individual bureaucrat, the purpose of the state becomes his private purpose, a hunt for promotion, careerism.” Secondly, the participation of private individuals in state activities does not in fact shield those individuals from the class distinctions that constitute civil society. Instead, the individuals enter into political life with those class distinctions: “The class distinctions of civil society thus become established as political distinctions. Weber sees state as the head of everything and state is not a production of capital, so bureaucracy which is manager for state cannot establish directly relationship between bureaucracy and capitalism, but state or bureaucracy regulates capital systems. On the other hand, Marx sees state or bureaucracy as production of capital and it service only bourgeois and bureaucracy is shaped by capital and it underestimates civil society interests. There is no doubt that both of them contribute a lot of things for perception of relationship between bureaucracy and capitalism.



WEBER, E. P., “The Question of Accountability in Historical Perspective”,

Administration & Society, C. 31(4), 1999

MARX, K., F. ENGELS, , Komünist Manifesto, (Çev. Süleyman Arslan), Bilim ve

Sosyalizm Yayınları, Ankara, 1976

Aron, Raymond (2006), Sosyolojik Düşüncenin Evreleri, (Çev. Korkmaz Alemdar),

Bilgi Yayınevi, Ankara.

Weber, Max (2005), Bürokrasi ve Otorite, (Çev. Bahadır Akın), Adres Yayınları, Ankara.

Skocpol theda, (1985), Bringing the state back in: strategies of analysis in current research



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