Rationalization – Meaning, Types and Rationalization of Society

Rationalization by its literal term means, efforts made to explain an individual’s behavior or behavior or attitude of anything under process. It is a process through which emotional actions and thoughts are explained and justified by logic and rational thinking by facts, by theories, by such data which is collected through surveys: through this process people having superstitious values convert their respect for orthodox and magical powers into rational and scientific thoughts, thereby finding reasons for the cause of such incidents. Such traditions also are replaced by rational thought and logical action.

Value-rational thought and action involved, achieving such ways or the most efficient way which makes us able to achieve the scientific and logical thoughts and values. The term, “the most efficient way” which is used in the previous definition of value-rational thoughts defines the way which is fastest and most cost-effective so that profit can be achieved.

There are many examples of such businesses or other examples of such business ideas which show some traits of rational thinking: one of such examples includes making the mouth of toothpaste tube wider; moreover making such pens which cannot be recycled, such pens must be thrown after they get used one time. In this way, the company is increasing the cost of a material by just 1 rupee, for each piece, but if the business idea is analysed and understood with a broader perspective, then it may be very easily concluded the intention behind such idea: the idea is not merely taking 1 rupee extra from every individual but is paying billions for the single owner, i.e. billions of individual when buying such pens, they pay one rupee extra for each piece and hence collectively, pay billions to the owner.

One of the great Sociologists, Max Weber has explained the term rationalization as the way or a process which organizes daily-life of an individual socially. It changes the thinking of an individual: not an individual. The process provides the scientific reasons for an individual to understand their culture, their social-norms, and folkways etc. It did not change an individual’s habits to more logical ones, but give reason to the existing habits.

On an individual level, habits changes with rational thinking; preferences and the use of materials of an individual gets converted or get changed from a primary level to an advanced level. For example:- a company has come up with the new innovation of sugar-free.  Sugar free make things sweet without adding bad or extra calories, such calories which can cause harm to body: habit of drinking sweet tea and taking sweets are not; moreover other examples include taking cholesterol-free diet and using cell  phones in place of using bird, moreover developed and better communication techniques and transport facilities are brought in  use in order to support rational thinking.

As Weber explained:  if an individual has identified a valued goal and have decided his efficient and convenient way or action in order to achieve it, it might be possible for him, to reach the goal a bit slowly.

Rationalization of Society

Max Weber was the first one to introduce the concept of Rationalization of Society. This notion is particularly related with :

  • Efficiency:

This refers to reaching the highest target with one’s maximum hard-work.

  • Predictability:

It refers to the ability of an individual to predict what will happen in near future.

  • Calculability:

This refers to playing with numerical data particularly the statistics and the scoring.

  • Dehumanization:

This refers to the use of the use of upgraded technology in controlling human behaviour.

Rationalization is more often recognized as the result of scientific efforts which can be seen more commonly among the members of the society only by reducing the hold of traditions on the citizens. The human conscious which is led by rationalization instils the understanding that we are guided by reason and practicality. This helps in transforming the environment into a modern society and leads to a firm establishment of capitalism. Initially, rationalization was seen along with the bureaucracies, has now established its roots in all the parts of the society.

Rationalization as per Weber is classified into four main types which are as under:

  • Practical Rationality:

It refers to understanding and then deciding the best possible way to achieve something based on what is practical.

  • Substantive Rationality:

It refers to the selection of the best possible means in order to make the system compatible with other systems.

  • Formal Rationality:

It refers to making decisions with the help of and under the guidance of universal laws, larger social structure of the society and the regulations which are enforced with rigidity and quantifiable methods. It has also led to the development of bureaucracy.

  • Theoretical Rationality:

It refers to understanding the society, the environment, and particularly the world around us with the sole help of abstract concepts.

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