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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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

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