Article

Weber: Sintering the Iron Cage Translation, Domination, and Rationality Stewart Clegg

Stewart Clegg and Michael Lounsbury

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199535231.003.0006

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 Weber: Sintering the Iron Cage Translation, Domination, and Rationality Stewart Clegg

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This article emphasizes how Weber's approach to bureaucracy was first and foremost a cultural theory. In addition, it shows how the very notion of rationality for Weber was multiplex and culturally embedded. Conceptualizing organizational environments as comprised of multiple modes of rationality and forms of domination can lead to an understanding of the ‘iron cage’ as more porous than is traditionally thought, thus opening up new lines of multilevel analysis. This article therefore aims to sinter the iron cage. Sintering is a method to make metal porous, and the porosity allows lubricants to flow through the medium of the metal. The article briefly highlights some of Weber's key works and reviews scholarly developments in organizational theory that have stemmed from his scholarship. It then discusses how some lines of inquiry have been eschewed in favor of others, and how a reengagement with some core foundational ideas can spur new lines of theoretical development.

Keywords: bureaucracy; Weber; cultural theory; rationality; organizational environments; iron cage; organizational theory

Article.  12846 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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