Toward a Weberian Public Administration: The Infinite Web of History, Values, and Authority in Administrative Mentalities

Eugenie Samier

Abstract


In this paper I will describe a more comprehensive outline of Weber’s work on administration in contrast to how is it usually characterised in administrative studies. In this case, I am emphasising three features most often ignored: history, values, and the intended combinate use of the three forms of authority (including the administrative systems and practices that are expressions of them), and the roles they play in mentality as they reflect the broad scope of his administrative writings. I have chosen these since their omission plays the greatest role in the many distortions, misrepresentations and misuses of Weber. I will also demonstrate what value a greater use of Weber’s writings has for contemporary administration. What would it mean to reposition administrative theory on this foundation, compared to the more
positivistic structural-functional or economically driven New Public Management currently being used in many international jurisdictions? In spite of radical developments on the theoretical level over the last 20 years, introducing history, cultural studies, biography, psychoanalytic studies, and even aesthetic and literary critique, all of which suggest that a more incisive understanding of administration rests on a valuationally-oriented individual analysis, the field has resisted a reevaluation of its treatment of Weber.

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