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Weber's Concept of Rationalization

Rationalization and Weber's Possible Interpretations

Rationalization is not a term that Maximum Weber defined in his publication Modernity and World. However, you'll be able to speculate that the most plausible interpretation for what Weber designed by rationalization is, the replacing of traditional ways of doing things with new determined ways. Two examples of these calculated means of doing things can be seen in his writings on capitalism and bureaucracy; in which he features that capitalism has transformed the economic structure of the Western world and bureaucracy, has evolved the organizational structure in the Western world. One different interpretation that can even be taken from his book is the fact that rationalization is the growth of methodical reasoning through empirical data; which really is a shift from past focus on just spiritualism and mysticism. This paper will display that his interpretation will not hold much base in Weber's writing and in reality, the probably interpretation is the one regarding a change to more calculated ways of doing.

For Weber, calculation of human activities comes up immensely in his writing, and this ability to compute and move from old traditional norms is seen in the rise of capitalism and bureaucracy. Human beings systematic move from bartering goods to a more sophisticated and logical way created a capitalistic population. Weber's declare that capitalism is the substance of rationalization can be seen when he says "Also capitalist businessmen, not only as occasional entrepreneurs but as folks oriented once and for all to business, have been ancient, enduring, and highly universal results" (Weber, p. 57). He is discussing the old ways business was done which was not sufficient enough to endure in a more progressive Westernized world where capitalism substituted it since it is a more rational way of taking a look at the economy. That is quite significant because he details after the theme of calculating the marketplace and using that to one's gain to better understand the economy. A supporter of the technological interpretation might declare that capitalism is not in fact an improved way of business because it triggers many problems for individuals such as the inequalities so it produces. Thus might add, science through empirical research helps individuals unlike capitalism. While capitalism been around in places like China and in the centre Ages it did not have "spirit" as Weber describes it. This nature that Weber speaks of is to truly have a responsibility to prosper through financial gains. When capitalism does indeed prosper for the reason that individuals accept interior a certain method for doing things and realize that a capitalist modern culture is right to allow them to achieve their goals and desires. He says "commercialisation wouldn't normally have existed if capitalist-rational corporation of work was not there. One reason is rationalization is the improvement of capitalism; it is the improvement of capitalist industrial organization. "(Weber, p. 18). This illustrates his deep self confidence in capitalism as rationalization, which is a transfer to more systematic calculated means of considering and doing activities.

Another example that can be used to aid the determined ways interpretation is Weber's writings on bureaucracy. Bureaucracy's ability to take care of the responsibilities of an increasingly complex world with relative simplicity, has significantly evolved the communal life of individuals. Weber highlights the superiority of the bureaucratic system when he writes "the decisive reason for the progress of bureaucratic company has always been its purely technical superiority over any form of business"(Weber, p. 198). In a sense, Weber is praising bureaucracy with the formulation of the structural hierarchy chain of command which makes time more efficient and individuals know very well what goals must be completed instead of the old ways of doing things where the structure had not been as identified. One might say that Weber does not support this because he claims "Bureaucracy both in business offices and in public service, promotes the climb of a particular status group, as does the quite different officeholders of the past" (Weber, p. 202). Weber is stating that bureaucracy is nothing not the same as the old ways of doing things because it creates a hierarchy where individuals are still at the bottom. Initially this may present an acceptable obstacle but after further analysis, its flaw is apparent. This would not be a sufficient debate because Weber says "according to all or any constitutions he can be dismissed or resign at any time"( Weber, p. 204), the "he" Weber is referring to is a high public in a bureaucratic system. He essential debunks the discussion elevated that bureaucracy creates a hierarchical world that individuals will be able to retain their electricity. When in actuality unlike the original ways where vitality was secure and did not fluctuate, bureaucracies are deeply infringed in American legal systems that inhibit people from keeping their electric power if that bulk wishes them out. The truth is that as a result of effortless movements of ideals and folks, bureaucracy allows individuals to cooperate within an efficient manner, which really is a result of logical behaviour. Weber taking the bureaucracy has already established a tremendous impact on his complete writing because from a sociological perspective, it allows individuals to work together more harmoniously because of the constant movement of activity as recently described.

In a normal society, human beings were focused on mysticism and spiritualism as a way of discovering everything in their surroundings and therefore they lacked detailed understanding of their environment. An alternative solution interpretation from what rationalization may have meant to Weber is that it is the move from religious and mystical means of seeing the planet to a far more technological and empirical way of understanding our area. A methodical interpretation might be seen as plausible because Weber's admiration for technology can be seen when he claims "Every methodical "fulfillment" increases new "questions"; it asks to be "surpassed" and "out-dated" (Weber, p. 56). This is an extremely relevant reason behind this interpretation because with methodical rise, one is able to ask more insightful questions than previously thought of. However, a drawback to a person taking this interpretation is the fact that although Weber supports medical reasoning, he does not believe it is merely unique to European society. "Empirical knowledge, reflection on the earth and the issues of life, philosophical and theological wisdom of the deepest kind extraordinarily enhanced knowledge observation - all this existed beyond your West" (Weber, p. 53). This raises a huge flaw in rationalization with this interpretation because if rationalization is the move from better ways of thinking and more systematic calculable ways, then why would other individuals than the Western develop it? A more unique perspective is to adopt the first interpretation where capitalism and bureaucracy are primarily found in the West. Weber, throughout the chapter entitled Scientific Vocation, refers to science not being able to answer the questions that govern someone's regular life and it falls short in this area. Weber, a sociologist, would be primarily considering the social areas of rationalization - something that science will not offer a remedy to. The scientific interpretation wouldn't normally be a ideal justification for what Weber recommended by rationalization.

It is clear that Weber didn't provide a direct classification for what rationalization recommended. However, it is possible to conclude that because of his strong curiosity about capitalism and bureaucracy, he intended rationalization is the capability to analyze and systematically change the world. Although some might propose the choice interpretation that Weber may have meant that rationalization is the transformation from mysticism thinking in the world of how religious beliefs used to be and towards more methodical knowledge. This interpretation wouldn't normally be considered a substantive one to describe the other varieties of rationalization that Weber details throughout his publication.


Weber, M. (2005). Maximum Weber: Readings and Commentary on Modernity. S. Kalberg (Ed. ).

Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

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