Edited By Rasim Yilmaz, Günther Löschnigg, Hasan Arslan and Mehmet Ali Icbay
Weber’s Pendulum: Perception of Authority at Work
In its very simplest form, management can be defined as “doing by others” (Stoner and Freeman, 1989; Daft, 2000). This definition clearly shows that all organisational and managerial processes in organisations, a priori, require two positions, superiors and subordinates, and authority relations between them. Organisations inherited this phenomenon from the earliest history of the existence of human beings. Hegel (1975, 1977) discusses in the master-slave dialectic that since the first day of humanity, men, at the end of an honourable battle, have been separated into two parts: those who have the authority and others who conform to authority. And it can be interpreted as a result of need of order. That is why it (authority) is an undetectable part of human beings throughout history. However, its nature may differ from one era to other.
Modernity, for example, with its rationalisation processes, impacted the nature of authority. As one of the important theorists of Modernism, Max Weber (1946, 1947, 1978) examined authority within the emerging dynamics of industrial society. For him, following the dominance of traditional and charismatic authority, the modernisation process created a new authority type which was based on the rise of large organisations. He suggests that bureaucracy represents the ideal structure of those organisations in which management holds the position of power which is identified as a legal/rational authority. For many years, organisations have operated with the prescriptions of Weberian and Taylorist rationalistic management practices. However, in the late 20th century,...