Management Notes

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Iron Law of Oligarchy – Concept, Examples, Importance, Roles and MCQs | Sociology

Iron Law of Oligarchy

Iron Law of Oligarchy

In the early 20th century, Robert Michels developed the theory of the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.” According to him, power tends to concentrate in the hands of a small group of individuals in every organization, whether it be a political party, labor union, or other.

According to Michels, an oligarchy forms because an organization must divide labor in order to function efficiently. There are some people who become specialists in certain areas and gain expertise, while there are others who do not. It is the specialists who then become the decision-makers, and they consolidate power over time and become the organization’s ruling class.

According to Michels, this process is inevitable and attempts to stop it will fail. It was only by challenging those in power and encouraging new voices and ideas that we could address the problem of oligarchy. According to the Iron Law of Oligarchy, power tends to concentrate in the hands of a few, even in democratic organizations.

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