Vadim Kvachev 1
  • 1 Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Stryemiannyi per., 36, Moscow, Russian Federation 117997

From Weberian Bureaucracy to Networking Bureaucracy

2019, vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 28–40 [issue contents]
Max Weber viewed organizational bureaucracy as one of the inevitable premises for genesis of capitalism, and his concept of bureaucracy has been the authoritative instrument in the analysis of organizations for many years. The Fordist Modern social organization cannot be imagined without bureaucratic organization. Up to recent times, bureau-cratic organization, existing as a general pattern of organizing social life, seemed to prove to be the ultimate efficiency as a means of organizing governmental bodies as well as big corporations. Today, Weberian bureaucracy as theory and practice come under criticism as rigid, obsolete, and ineffective. Under the conditions of late capitalism, modern or-ganization is claimed to be more flexible and more adaptive to changes. It is my belief that the phenomenon of bureau-cracy cannot be analyzed in isolation from other theories of social order. With its strict rules and regulations, Weberian bureaucracy is the embodiment of Foucauldian disciplinary power at the organizational level. Foucault’s diagrams expressing power through systematic relations between humans, objects, and spaces could be the perfect study of bu-reaucracy. Bureaucracy changes with the transition from disciplinary power relations to postmodern power relations. The traditional disciplinary instruments (rules, codes, and regulations) give space for more flexible and even (at first sight) democratic inter-organizational relations. However, this supposed freed without freedom has its priceк. Deregu-lation paradoxically leads to even more regulation, which now appears as self-control and self-surveillance. Being microscopic (mostly due to novel technological opportunities) and de-regulative at the same time, this new networking bureaucracy restructures power relations in organizations in a way that produces behavior leading to atomization and individualization without a freedom.
Citation: Kvachev V. (2019) From Weberian Bureaucracy to Networking Bureaucracy. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 2
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