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Journal cover: Journal of Management History

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Online from: 2006

Subject Area: Management Science/Management Studies

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Does Max Weber's notion of authority still hold in the twenty-first century?

Document Information:
Title:Does Max Weber's notion of authority still hold in the twenty-first century?
Author(s):Jeffery D. Houghton, (College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Citation:Jeffery D. Houghton, (2010) "Does Max Weber's notion of authority still hold in the twenty-first century?", Journal of Management History, Vol. 16 Iss: 4, pp.449 - 453
Keywords:Authority, Charisma, Leadership, Management theory
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/17511341011073933 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this brief commentary is to provide a brief overview of Max Weber's life, work, and contributions to management thought before addressing the question of whether his notion of authority still holds in the twenty-first century.

Design/methodology/approach – The commentary begins with a brief biographical sketch followed by an examination of Weber's conceptualization of authority, its influence on the field of management and its relevancy in the twenty-first century.

Findings – Weber's writings on charismatic authority have been and continue to be instrumental in shaping modern leadership theory, that the charismatic form of authority may be particularly applicable and effective in today's chaotic and rapidly changing environments, and that the empowered and self-managing organizational forms of the twenty-first century may represent merely a different incarnation of Weber's iron cage of legal/rational authority.

Originality/value – This commentary makes an important contribution to the management history literature by examining an important aspect of Weber's influence on management thought, theory, and practice.

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