Max Weber, the father of bureaucracy had the social institutions in mind. Bureaucracy, described as the hierarchy and channels of appeal describe a clearly established system of subordination, which allows higher offices to supervise the lower offices, describe the formal way of doing things. According to Weber’s arguments, increased space and the growth of the administered population, the higher the chances of bureaucracy taking shape. With the increased complexity of the societies, argued Weber, coupled with the administrative activities undertaken often required a formalized way of doing things.
In order to take a stance on whether there was anything institutional in Max Weber’s argument about bureaucracy, it is important to understand the characteristics of an institution. These characteristics form the very arguments for the institutional theory.
Institutions focus on satisfying specific needs. Every institution meets a particular set of needs to the members of the institution. Every institution has prescribed rules that all members of the institutions have to follow. Rules help in maintaining discipline among the members of the institution. Further, they avoid any form of conflicts among the members. All members have to follow the prescribed rules and regulations. Further, organizations are abstract in nature, meaning that they are neither visible nor tangible. Organizations have cultural symbols. They embrace a particular way of doing things, regarded as the acceptable way of operation. All members conform to this normal way of doing things, which gives the institution identity from other institutions. As institutions come into existence due to collective activities of the people, they are social in nature.