wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Max Weber (1864-1920)Max Weber


A German sociologist and economist (pictured right) whose ideas have had a big impact on management thinking.


Key books

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1927)


Protestantism led to an ethos (the “Protestant work ethic”). based upon:

  • hard work.
  • enterprise (setting up businesses).
  • the virtue of profit and material success


So Protestantism contributed to the growth of capitalism in which the needs of people are superseded by profit.

The relentless pursuit of material goods imprisons people in an “iron cage”.

But the Protestant businessman is motivated by work (the “sense of having done his job well”) , not money.


Key quote on money and capitalism

Money can beget money.


 Key quote on motivation

Man is dominated by the making of money, by acquisition as the ultimate purpose of his life.



The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (1947)


Bureaucracy (a hierarchical organization with autocratic management) is the “the most efficient form of social organization ever developed”.


Bureaucracy is governed by a hierarchy of appointed administrative staff who

  • are technically competent in specialized jobs.
  • given power by the organization’s rules (“rational-legal authority”).

 This is more effective than the other two sources of authority:


1. Traditional 

(based upon tradition and loyalty to an unappointed leader like a king).


2. Charismatic 

(authority from a leader’s inspirational personality).


Key quote on bureaucracy

The purely bureaucratic type of administrative organization is...capable of attaining the highest degree of efficiency 


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