Sociology Index


Ideal type is an abstract model of a pure form of social phenomenon. Ideal type is a model concept and does not necessarily exist in exact form in reality. Max Weber also used this method of analysis with his ideal types of bureaucracy, authority and social action. The "ideal type" is a subjective element in social theory, and one of the subjective elements distinguishing sociology from natural science. An example of ideal type is Ferdinand Tonnies's dichotomy Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Ferdinand Tonnies described two opposite, or polar types, of social association, one personal and committed one impersonal and unemotional. These two formal types then provide a benchmark for the analysis and comparison of actually existing societies. Ideal types have received little systematic explication. Difficulties include the ambiguity surrounding the usage of types as theoretical or definitional statements.

The Ideal Type and Sociological Theory - Jon Hendricks, University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky, C. Breckinridge Peters, University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky.

The Weberian Ideal-type: Development and Continuities 
Tore Lindbekk, Department of Sociology and Political Science, University of Trondheim.
Max Weber's concept of ideal-types is presented against a background of the methodological controversies at the turn of the century and the conceptions of some recent authors. The changes in Weber's ideal-type approach from his early studies of medieval trading companies to Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft and his studies of world religions are pointed out.

Four ideal-type organizational responses to New Public Management reforms and some consequences - Tor Hernes, Norwegian School of Management BI, Oslo, Oslo University College.
With its dual focus on service and accountability, New Public Management (NPM) accentuates the inherent tension between the logics of service and accountability respectively in local public administration. The present article explores, from an organization theory perspective, possible organizational responses to tensions created by the introduction of NPM. The article identifies four possible ideal-type organizational responses to NPM.