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In Praise of Bureaucracy

In Praise of Bureaucracy
Weber - Organization - Ethics

First Edition

September 2000 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
These are not the best days for bureaucracy… With these opening words Paul du Gay sets the stage for his provocative new study of institutions, ethics and contemporary society. The book reassesses management as a definitive phenomenon of the `modern' era and goes on to explore its possible future configurations. Above all the positive, even creative potential of bureaucratic order in a time of complexity, uncertainty and disorder is analyzed. Central to the nature and role of the bureau is the relationship of individuals and institutions: by taking this as his starting point Paul du Gay offers a powerful new critique of organizational action and ethics. Reviewing key theorists from Weber to MacIntyre and Bauman, the text charts the rise and fall of the 'bureau critique', and suggests important ways in which the ideals of bureaucratic order have influenced and may in future shape social action. The book provides a context for re-evaluating structure and action. As a major contribution to organization theory The Bureaucratic Ethos will be essential reading for students and researchers of organization everywhere: at the same time the breadth and liveliness of the examples on which it draws make it a valuable supplement to courses on management and culture studies.

Bureaucratic Morality

Alasdair MacIntyre and the Christian Genealogy of 'Bureau Critique'
Bauman's Bureau
'Modernity', Identity, Ethics

The Anti-Bureaucrats
Contemporary Managerial Discourse and Charismatic Authority

Office as a Vocation? Entrepreneurial Governance and Bureaucracy-Critique
'Vitalizing' State Bureaux
Some Ethico-Political Consequences of 'Re-Inventing Government'

Separate and Distinct Personae
'Bureaucrats' and 'Politicians'

The Ethos of Office and State Interest


`Paul du Gay takes the current discourse over managerialism in government to newer, deeper and richer intellectual realms. He deepens our understanding of Weber's theory of bureaucracy, disposes of superficial moral critiques of the concept and shows how the bureaucratic form of organization occupies a distinctively justified place in democratic life' - Charles Goodsell, Virginia Tech

`This is an important book. Writing with clarity and precision and drawing on a rich array of sources, Paul du Gay dissects the philosophical and managerialist criticisms of bureaucracy and exposes their assumptions and weakness... In Praise of Bureaucracy makes a substantial and very welcome original contribution to social theory, and to the study of management and organizations' - Richard Brown, Univeristy of Durham

`In this controversial, but compellingly argued book, Paul du Gay contests both the conventional romantic critique of "bureaucracy" and the fashionable New Public Management philosophy espoused by New Labour, which seeks to "entrepreneurialize" the "conservative forces" represented by any commitment to the distinctive ethos of public office' - Stuart Hall, The Open University and Goldsmiths College, Univeristy of London

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