[Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude] Emotions in Weber’s bureaucracy Vs in Modern Neuroscience

Weber’s bureaucracy prescribed complete impersonality and absence of emotions for rational administration. But Neuroscientific studies in last decade has shown that rationality and emotions are not separate compartments in the brain rather they are extrinsically interwoven. Charles Darwin in 19th century showed that emotions are adaptive in the evolution of human beings.Joseph Ledoux has said
“Many emotions are product of evolutionary wisdom, which probably has more intelligence that human minds together.” Researchers have shown conclusively that emotions are a form of intelligent awareness. Emotions are what make us human. Emotions tell us what is valuable and important to us and to others. They signal the meaning of events. They serve as essential guide for humans to make rational choices. Without guidance of emotions, one become irrational, detached from reality.
Is not this detachment from reality the very definition of “occupational psychosis” (John Dewey), “professional deformation”(Thorsein Veblen), “trained incapacity” (Philip Selznick), and “bureaupathology” (Robert Merton)? We now have conclusive biological evidence that decision-making is neurologically impossible without being informed by emotions. Contrary to the classical model, decision-making is arbitrary when it is not infused with the intelligence of emotions.
Bureaucracy on emotions Modern neuroscience on emotions
Make us inefficient Make us effective
Sign of weakness Sign of strength
Interfere with good judgement Essential to good judgement
Distract us Motivates us
Obstruct, or slow down, reasoning Enhance, or speed up, reasoning
Arbitrary and tyrannical Build trust and connection
Weaken neutrality Activate ethical values
Inhibit the flow of objective data Provide vital information and feedback
Complicate planning Spark creativity and innovation
Undermine management Enhance leadership

Courtesy – Robert Kramer in Beyond Max Weber: Emotional Intelligence and Public Leadership 



Intelligence and Emotional intelligence

According to Douglas Hofstadter, Pulitzer-prize 
winning author of the brilliant book Godel, Escher, Bach, intelligence can be defined in terms of the following eight abilities:
1. To respond to situations very flexibly.
2. To take advantage of the right time and right place.
3. To make sense of ambiguous or contradictory messages.
4. To recognize the importance of different elements of a situation.
5. To find similarities between situations despite differences that may separate them.
6. To draw distinctions between situations despite similarities that may link them.
7. To synthesize new concepts by taking old concepts and combining them in new ways.
8. To develop ideas that are novel.


Without the intelligent guidance of emotions, human beings cannot respond to situations very flexibly, take advantage of the right time and right place, make sense of ambiguous or contradictory messages, recognize the importance of different elements of a situation, find similarities between situations despite differences that may separate them, draw distinctions between situations despite similarities that may link them, synthesize new concepts by taking old concepts and combining in new ways, or develop ideas that are novel. Without the guidance of emotions we cannot be intelligent. Without the guidance of emotions we cannot be rational.

  • Emotional intelligence is registered through deep listening — listening to oneself and listening to others (Kramer 1995, 1999).
  • People who are high in emotional intelligence know how to listen to their emotions and regulate their intensity so they are not hijacked by them.
  • Emotionally intelligent people know how to keep disruptive emotions in check.
  • Emotionally intelligent people sense the effect their emotions have on others.
  • Emotionally intelligence people know how to deploy their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.
  • Emotionally intelligence people listen to other people’s emotions and can empathize with them.
  • Emotionally intelligent people act ethically and build trust through integrity and
    reliability.
  • Emotionally intelligent people admit their own mistakes and learn from them.
  • Emotionally intelligent people are comfortable with new ideas and new information.
  • Emotionally intelligent people are skilled at listening to a group’s emotional currents and discerning the power relationships.
  • Emotionally intelligent people can negotiate and resolve disagreements.
  • Emotionally intelligent people listen to other people and know how to communicate effectively.

Emotionally intelligent behavior is a prerequisite for building bridges of mutual understanding and trust in the space between people — in “administrative space.”


Though late but UPSC has rightly recognized importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and looking for same in candidates.

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