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How Daily Work Fights Bureaucracy’s “Iron Cage”

Have you ever felt trapped by bureaucracy? You’re not the only one!

Max Weber, a German sociologist and one of the founders of European Sociology, theorizes about the process and results of bureaucratization. According to Weber, the system of bureaucracy emerged in the capitalist context as a form of reforming organization and striving for a more efficient means of industry and economy in order to maximize output. He argues that this system cannot exist without a hierarchy of positions, in which laborers are subject to supervision and regulation by those in higher positions. This process creates a form of control and systemization of labor, with tasks becoming specialized by those who perform them and laborers working only within this ranked order.
Weber proposes that this phenomenon poses a serious danger to human essence. The bureaucracy becomes an “iron cage” that mitigates a person’s ability to make human decisions and judge situations with compassion, given the heavy regulations and institutional rules of their position. Although this order is imposed to facilitate efficiency, the result more often traps workers and supervisors in the established system of order.

Every day at Daily Work, we assist job seekers in breaking through the iron cage of bureaucracy in order to build a community where everyone can earn a living wage, advance in the workforce and thrive. With many of our job seekers receiving public support for medical assistance, food, or disability, we see the results of this bureaucracy first-hand, with programs and office employees allowed to work only within their immediate, and limited, capacity.

These caseworkers and employees are commonly overloaded and are bound by “red tape” that through Weber’s perspective, prevents them from viewing a case compassionately. While these regulations aim to maximize reach through increased efficiency, they often leave our job seekers at Daily Work feeling hopeless, lost, or overlooked within the system…and never getting the wrap-around support they need to advance.

For example, one job seeker, “Melinda”, has a team of case workers through various public programs, but finds that Daily Work can go far beyond what any one of them can do: setting up meetings with her team to foster communication, referring her to legal help, walking her through application processes for an education grant, applying for a new job, or serving as a reference for a prospective employer, etc.

Not only because of Daily Work’s size and diverse group of case managers, but through our continued commitment to a “whole-person” approach, we are able to meet job seekers like Melinda right where they are. We fight bureaucracy’s “iron cage” by seeing job seekers not as cases, but as completely individual; with unique needs, hopes and desires. We are not bound by the system’s red-tape, but rather, we assist job-seekers in navigating it and demonstrate how they can advocate for themselves. With our one-on-one job coaching, we respect each person’s individuality in being, background, and experiences, all with the ultimate goal of helping them achieve their goals.

Join Daily Work in fulfilling its mission through a donation or participating in a meaningful volunteer or internship experience. Better yet, mark your calendar for September 10, for a Picnic in the Park, a free event to bring our community together for fun and celebration. Details will be available soon. To learn more about making a donation visit

By Sofia Moran, Case Manager Imtern

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