McDonaldization
Overview
 
McDonaldization is a term used by sociologist George Ritzer
George Ritzer
George Ritzer is a sociologist who studies American patterns of consumption, globalization, metatheory, and modern and postmodern social theory...

 in his book The McDonaldization of Society
The McDonaldization of Society
The McDonaldization of Society is a 1993 book by sociologist George Ritzer.In the book, Ritzer took central elements of the work of Max Weber, expanded and updated them, and produced a critical analysis of the impact of social structural change on human interaction and identity...

(1993). He explains it occurs when a culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 possesses the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a reconceptualization of rationalization
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

, or moving from traditional to rational
Rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

 modes of thought, and scientific management
Scientific management
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management...

. Where Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 used the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of this changing society, Ritzer sees the fast-food restaurant as having become a more representative contemporary paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

 (Ritzer, 2004:553).
Ritzer highlighted four primary components of McDonaldization:
  • Efficiency – the optimal method for accomplishing a task.
Encyclopedia
McDonaldization is a term used by sociologist George Ritzer
George Ritzer
George Ritzer is a sociologist who studies American patterns of consumption, globalization, metatheory, and modern and postmodern social theory...

 in his book The McDonaldization of Society
The McDonaldization of Society
The McDonaldization of Society is a 1993 book by sociologist George Ritzer.In the book, Ritzer took central elements of the work of Max Weber, expanded and updated them, and produced a critical analysis of the impact of social structural change on human interaction and identity...

(1993). He explains it occurs when a culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 possesses the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a reconceptualization of rationalization
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

, or moving from traditional to rational
Rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

 modes of thought, and scientific management
Scientific management
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management...

. Where Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 used the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of this changing society, Ritzer sees the fast-food restaurant as having become a more representative contemporary paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

 (Ritzer, 2004:553).

Aspects

Ritzer highlighted four primary components of McDonaldization:
  • Efficiency – the optimal method for accomplishing a task. In this context, Ritzer has a very specific meaning of "efficiency". Here, the optimal method equates to the fastest method to get from point A to point B. In the example of McDonald's customers, it is the fastest way to get from being hungry to being full. Efficiency in McDonaldization means that every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.
  • Calculability
    Calculation
    A calculation is a deliberate process for transforming one or more inputs into one or more results, with variable change.The term is used in a variety of senses, from the very definite arithmetical calculation of using an algorithm to the vague heuristics of calculating a strategy in a competition...

     – objective should be quantifiable (e.g., sales) rather than subjective (e.g., taste). McDonaldization developed the notion that quantity equals quality, and that a large amount of product delivered to the customer in a short amount of time is the same as a high quality product. This allows people to quantify how much they're getting versus how much they’re paying. Organizations want consumers to believe that they are getting a large amount of product for not a lot of money. Workers in these organizations are judged by how fast they are instead of the quality of work they do.
  • Predictability
    Predictability
    Predictability is the degree to which a correct prediction or forecast of a system's state can be made either qualitatively or quantitatively.-Predictability and Causality:...

     – standardized
    Standardization
    Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards.The goals of standardization can be to help with independence of single suppliers , compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality....

     and uniform services. "Predictability" means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization. This also applies to the workers in those organizations. Their tasks are highly repetitive, highly routine, and predictable.
  • Control
    Social control
    Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

     – standardized and uniform employees, replacement of human by non-human technologies


With these four processes, a strategy which is rational within a narrow scope can lead to outcomes that are harmful or irrational.
The process of McDonaldization can be summarized as the way in which "the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world."

Irrationality of Rationality

Ritzer also outlines Irrationality of Rationality as fifth aspect of McDonaldization.
"Most specifically, irrationality means that rational systems are unreasonable systems. By that I mean that they deny the basic humanity, the human reason, of the people who work within or are served by them." (Ritzer 1994:154)

Ritzer introduces this during Chapter Two (The Past, Present, and Future of McDonaldization: From the Iron Cage to the Fast-Food Factory and Beyond) of his book "The McDonaldization of Society" in the sub-section Irrationality and the "Iron Cage." He states that "Despite the advantages it offers, bureaucracy suffers from the irrationality of rationality. Like a fast-food restaurant, a bureaucracy can be a dehumanizing place in which to work and by which to be served." In short; "settings in which people cannot always behave as human beings"

He further states that beyond dehumanization further irrationalities emerge; including the inefficient masses of red tape, over quantification leading to low quality work, unpredictability as employees grow unclear about what they are supposed to do, or the loss of control due to other inadequacies.

De-McDonaldization

In subsequent publications, Ritzer conceptualized a cultural process he labeled "de-McDonaldization" as a reaction to McDonaldization, and cited modern baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 stadiums with nostalgic features as one example of this phenomenon.

Response of McDonald's

The response from McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

, expressed by its representatives in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, is that Ritzer, like other commentators, uses the company's size and brand recognition to promote ideas that do not necessarily relate to the company's business practices.

See also

  • Americanization
    Americanization
    Americanization is the influence of the United States on the popular culture, technology, business practices, or political techniques of other countries. The term has been used since at least 1907. Inside the U.S...

  • Cocacolonization
    Cocacolonization
    Cocacolonization is a term that refers to globalization or cultural colonization. It is a portmanteau of the name of the multinational soft drink maker Coca-Cola and the word colonization....

  • Disneyfication
    Disneyfication
    Disneyfication is a term which describes the transformation of something, usually society at large, to resemble The Walt Disney Company's theme parks. The latter term appears in Sharon Zukin's book, The Cultures of Cities , and was popularized by Alan Bryman in a 2004 book, The Disneyization of...

  • Fast Food Nation
    Fast Food Nation
    Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry....

    , 2001 book
  • Globalization
    Globalization
    Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

  • McWords
    McWords
    A McWord is a word containing the prefix Mc-, derived from the first syllable of the name of the McDonald's restaurant chain. Words of this nature are either official marketing terms of the chain , or are neologisms designed to evoke pejorative associations with the restaurant chain or fast food...

  • McWorld
    McWorld
    McWorld is a term used to describe the spreading of McDonald's restaurants throughout the world as the result of globalization, and more generally to describe the effects of international McDonaldization of services and commercialization of goods as an element of globalization as a whole...

  • Modernization
    Modernization
    In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

  • Organizational studies
    Organizational studies
    Organizational studies, sometimes known as organizational science, encompass the systematic study and careful application of knowledge about how people act within organizations...

  • Super Size Me
    Super Size Me
    Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he eats only McDonald's food...

    , 2004 documentary film
  • Walmarting
    Walmarting
    Walmarting is a neologism referring to U.S. discount department store Walmart with three meanings.* The first use is similar to the concept of globalization and is used pejoratively by critics and neutrally by businesses seeking to emulate Wal-Mart's success....

  • Fordism
    Fordism
    Fordism, named after Henry Ford, is a modern economic and social system based on industrial mass production. The concept is used in various social theories about production and related socio-economic phenomena. It has varying but related meanings in different fields, as well as for Marxist and...


Further reading

  • The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer (ISBN 0-7619-8812-2)
McDonaldization: The Reader by George Ritzer (ISBN 0-7619-8767-3)
The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions by George Ritzer (ISBN 0-7619-5540-2)
  • McDonaldization of America's Police, Courts, and Corrections by Matthew B. Robinson
  • McCitizens by Bryan Turner
  • Resisting McDonaldization, ed. Barry Smart
  • Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia by James L. Watson
  • Sociology of Consumption: Fast Food, Credit Cards and Casinos, ed. George Ritzer
  • The McDonaldization of Higher Education, ed. Dennis Hayes & Robert Wynyard
  • Enchanting a Disenchanted World by George Ritzer
  • The McDonaldization of the Church by John Drane
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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