A British Bureaucratic Revolution ? Autonomy Without Control, or “Freer Markets, More Rules”
This paper addresses a puzzle : how to account for changes in the routine behavior of groups, organizations and individuals in Britain ? Following a detailed analysis of state/market interdependence and the role of the state in creating the market, an analysis drawn from the thinking of Weber and Polanyi, we suggest adapting Weber’s notion of bureaucratic revolution : in what we call the British bureaucratic revolution, the state has played an essential role in social change by creating institutions and rules that are lastingly reorienting actors’ behavior. The example of the healthcare field is examined in order to identify the specific mechanisms that have been impacting on behavior within an approximately ten-year period ; namely, the introduction of 1) competitive practices (sanction/reward) and 2) of auditing and inspection. If this interpretation is valid, then it is reasonable to assume that the effects of this bureaucratic revolution extend beyond Britain.