Iron Rule of Oligarchy

(noun) “[T]he theory that an organization is ruled by a few elites rather than through collaboration” (OpenStax College 2012).

Audio Pronunciation: (Iron Rule of Ol·i·gar·chy)

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Related Quotations:

  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy . . . Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy . . . It may be enunciated as a general rule that the increase in the power of the leaders is directly proportional with the extension of the organization” (Michels 1949:32).

Related Terms: 



Michels, Robert. 1949. Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy. New York: Free Press. Quoted in Key Quotations in Sociology by Kenneth Thompson (New York: Routledge, 1996), 80.

OpenStax College. 2012. Formal Organizations. Connexions, June 12, 2012. (