Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rationalization denotes the shift from traditional, habitual, and particularistic methods of economic, social, and political organization and administration to methods that are instead calculative, systematic, and universalistic. In contemporary governance, rationalization is often shorthand for streamlining government for the purpose of maximizing the efficient provision of public goods and services. This is accom plished, for example, by introducing uniform standards, applying universal and impersonal rules, enhancing transparency and accountability, eliminating redundant staff and overlapping agencies, and promoting the functional specialization of services. As theorized by Max Weber, rationalization referred to a process by which rational methods—for example, the calculation of cost and benefit—lead to a devaluation of traditionalism. ...