Weber`s belief that rational legal authority did not exist in imperial China was heavily criticized and did not have many followers in the early 21st century. The unique feature of modern legal-rational authority is that it becomes an impersonal process that is not done – there is a separation between those who apply the rules, and there is a separate procedure – right? – the manner in which the rules are established. Is it reasonably clear what ownership of administrative funds means? As I mentioned earlier, this is a very Weberian idea. Right? For Marx – isn`t it? – it is the ownership of the means of production. For Weber, it`s all about administrations – the means of administration. Rational legal authority is therefore the authority that derives from a legal code implemented by an office that exercises legitimate domination over the subjects of its authority. The value of the ideal type is not so much that it serves as a prediction, but that it allows to ask relevant questions or identify relevant causal processes. But this process itself is driven by our cognitive goals and not by something inherent in the historical world itself. Indeed, much of Weber`s discussion of the material of the historical case revolves around the logical unfolding of the implications of basic ideas such as charisma or rational legal authority. However, there is no sense in which this unfolding is causally inevitable. On the contrary, concepts such as charisma are useful for making processes understandable, precisely because the elaboration of the idea corresponds to the type of developments that historical actors actually bring in the course of their actions with their own ideas, beliefs, etc. Charismatic authority may reside in a person who has entered a leadership position because of traditional or rational-legal authority.
Over the centuries, several kings and queens of England and other European nations were also charismatic individuals (while some were far from charismatic). Some American presidents—Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, and, for all his faults, even Clinton—were also charismatic, and much of their popularity stemmed from various personal qualities that attracted the public and sometimes even the press. Ronald Reagan, for example, was often called “the Teflon president” because he was so beloved by much of the public that accusations of incompetence or misconduct did not stick to him (Lanoue, 1988). The army is therefore a classic example of rational and legal authority. It is centrally organized, highly knowledge-based and hierarchically structured. Rulers do not derive their authority from tradition (e.g. monarchies or social castes), but from their position within a rational and legal framework. The most famous of these typologies involves beliefs that legitimize the authority and forms produced by these beliefs. The categories were charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal.
They were ideal types that almost never, if ever, actually appeared in pure form. Traditional authority was based on unwritten rules that would have been handed down since time immemorial; Rational legal authority was based on belief in the validity of written rules established by written procedures, and charismatic authority was the authority of the extraordinary person. Weber, of course, was thinking of figures such as Napoleon and Jesus Christ, but he found many more modest examples among Indian gurus and medieval battle leaders, and in each of these cases obedience was not based on written or unwritten rules, but on the direct influence of the extraordinary individual himself. Weber was careful to point out things like the toned down charismatic element in modern monarchy and the jury. Rational legal authority (also known as rational authority, legal authority, rational rule, legal rule, or bureaucratic authority) is a form of leadership in which the authority of a leading organization or regime is largely linked to legal rationality, legal legitimacy, and bureaucracy. The majority of modern States of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are rational and legal authorities, according to those who use this form of classification. While traditional authority derives from habit and tradition, rational and legal authority derives from the law and is based on the belief in the legitimacy of a society`s laws and rules, and in the right of rulers to act in accordance with those rules in making decisions and determining policies. This form of authority is a feature of modern democracies, where power is delegated to the elected people by the electorate, and the rules for exercising that power are usually set out in a constitution, charter or other written document. While traditional authority by divine inheritance or destiny resides in an individual, rational-legal authority resides in the function that an individual performs, not in the individual himself. Thus, the authority of the president of the United States resides in the office of the president, not in the person who happens to be president. When that person leaves office, the authority passes to the next president.
This transfer is usually smooth and stable, and one of the wonders of democracy is that incumbents are replaced in elections without the need for revolutions. We may not have voted for the person who wins the presidency, but we accept that person`s authority as president when he (until now, it has always been a “he”) takes office. Max Weber divided legitimate authority into three types of societies: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. Each of these authorities has its own unique complex societies that have evolved from simple definitions. The modern judicial system is a perfect example of rational legal authority. Weber wrote that the modern state, based on rational and legal authority, emerged from the struggle for patrimonial and feudal power (see traditional authority), unique in Western civilization. The prerequisites for the modern Western state are as follows: In Weber`s formulation, the word rational refers to the knowledge of bureaucrats. Bureaucrats know 2 factors: In the 1950s and 1960s, the great influence on the sociological study of organizations was Weber (1949). Weber`s main contribution in this area was his characterization of organizations in terms of the relationships of authority within them (imperative coordination systems) and how these systems had evolved historically.
Each type of ideal, charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal authority had its own organizational form. Weber regarded the rational-legal system of authority with its organizational form of bureaucracy as the dominant institution of modern society. The system of authority is rational because the means are explicitly designed to achieve certain ends, and it is legal because authority is exercised through an office with the rules and procedures that accompany it. For Weber, bureaucratic organization was technically the most efficient form of organization. Each level has its own responsibilities, and each is a classic manifestation of rational and legal authority. For Weber, rationalization was the inevitable consequence of industrialization and modernization of society. In traditional authority, the legitimacy of authority comes from tradition. Charismatic authority is legitimized by the personality and leadership qualities of the individual in power. Finally, rational and legal authority derives its powers from the system of bureaucracy and legality. The next question now is: who obeys whom? And now I don`t want to dwell on it that long. It is very clear. You already know that.
What`s important, isn`t it? – the person who has authority, who gives orders, is himself subject to an impersonal order. So we are all subject to the same order. This is the essence of legal-rational authority, at least in the ideal type. Right? We know the exceptions. We know that Berlusconi, for example, in Italy, although Italy is in fact a legal-rational authority, has been doing so for a long time – hasn`t it? – adopt a law allowing it to avoid prosecution; Although he is likely involved in a number of criminal activities, he managed to evade prosecution. But this is the exception. The rule is – isn`t it? – that even the most responsible person is subject to the same authority and must obey the law.