In Praise of Bureaucracy

Weber - Organization - Ethics

by Paul du Gay

In this provocative study, Paul du Gay makes a compelling case for the continuing importance of bureaucracy. Taking inspiration from the work of Max Weber, du Gay launches a staunch defence of `the bureaucratic ethos' and highlights its continuing relevance to the achievement of social order and good government in liberal democratic societies.

Through a comprehensive engagement with both historical and contemporary critiques of bureaucracy and a careful examination of the policies of organizational change within the public services today, du Gay develops a major reappraisal of the so-called `traditional' ethic of office. In doing so he highlights the ways in which many of the key features of bureaucratic conduct that came into existence a century ago still remain essential to the provision of responsible democratic government.


  • SAGE Publications; June 2000
  • ISBN: 9781446264447
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: In Praise of Bureaucracy
  • Author: Paul du Gay
  • Imprint: SAGE Publications Ltd

In The Press

`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