McDonaldization was a term originated by sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1995). In this book, he described the process through which a society takes shape the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. For Ritzer McDonaldization displayed a rationalization, or moving from traditional to rational modes of thought, and scientific management. In his theory, Max Weber displayed the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of this changing society, through this Ritzer saw the fast-food restaurant to become a more representative contemporary paradigm.
According to Ritzer there were four main components of McDonaldization. This he described to be efficiency, calculability, predictability and control. In efficiency he described the optimal method for accomplishing a task. Here Ritzer pertained to the best method that would help you reach the efficiency of reaching the fastest method to get from point A to point B. This is being displayed in your typical McDonald’s customers set up; that the fastest way to get from being hungry to being full is to eat at McDonald’s. In Calculability Ritzer showed that the main objective should be quantifiable which can be displayed through sales rather than subjective for example taste. In the rise of McDonaldization, it developed the notion that quantity should be equal to quality.
This sprung from the typical goal of a business enterprise to serve a large amount of goods to deliver to its customer in a short amount of time. It was interpreted that this should be the same as high quality goods. This generally gave the people the impression that of how much they’re getting verses how much they’re paying in purchasing goods. Through this organizations want consumers to believe that they are getting a larger amount of goods for a smaller amount of money. Thus workers in these organizations also can be judged by how fast they are in production instead of the quality of work they do. Predictability - standardized and uniform services.
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In describing predictability Ritzer pertained to the predictability and uniformity of receiving the same service and receiving the same goods every time a person purchases anything at any “McDonaldized” organization. It is also reflected in the performance of the workers in those said organizations. Each person and organization is tasked to maintain a level of highly repetitive, highly routined, and predictable tasks. In control Ritzer showed the display of standardized and uniform employees, which was the replacement of human by non-human technologies. Through this each “McDonalized” organization is in control of it operations very carefully to achieve the predictable goals it set for itself.
These four processes shows a strategy which is rational within a narrow scope but can also lead to outcomes that are harmful or irrational. In Ritzer’s book, 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.” (Ritzer, 1996).
Through this it is manifested how society is being shaped through the principles being set to us by the standards and values of the popular fast food chain called McDonald’s. It was not only through the domination of the McDonalds food chain can we attribute the McDonaldization of society, it is by how the trend of the McDonalds phenomenon of success where in we can see the reflection why such food chain has given such a large impact to society.
In McDonaldization that the pattern of being set by the popular fast food chain McDonald’s is not being restricted to the domain of the fast-food market. It is even quite evident in the modernizing society that this wave of McDonaldization can be seen in the manifestations of the supermarket. It is now evident that supermarkets has now come be the replacement for the corner store and has since itself been superseded by all sorts of hypermarkets.
In the world of entertainment video shop chains and Disneyland are can display McDonaldization. While in the arena of healthcare it has been also noticeable how house doctors has been irretrievably replaced by a much more streamlined, effective, all-encompassing, but, alas, also a much more impersonal system of health care.
In the world of printing press, the American nationwide newspaper USA Today is sometimes referred to as McPaper (Ritzer, 1996, p. 7). This paper exemplifies how the news can be perfected through its presentation of the current events in a standardized manner, this way it is more easily digestible for the readers.
This way a very specific and easily recognizable layout, and shorter pieces with no continuation of reports on later pages, as well as a number of other measures, can ensure absolute predictability and thus efficiency. Just as much as tomorrow's Big Mac in LA will be the same as yesterday's in New York, so much will USA Today live up to your expectations. "USA Today gives its readers only what they want. No spinach, no bran, no liver." (Ritzer, 1996, p. 76)
Probably, one of the most notable and important institution that was McDonalized should be the domain of higher education. Initially, we could only begin to imagine ho shocking implications of McDonaldization can pose to us and our kids. Despite that, this is exactly what McDonaldization poses to our students having that grade point averages and the ranking of institutions, giving us trends of modernized education. It is predictability is a clear manifestation that even our education system has been McDonalized through time in modernization.
Through this efficiency is more and more accomplished by means of multi-choice tests and even more, by standardized textbooks and preset tests that accompany them. Modernization of the education arena is clearly making our students lose a personal and cultural touch in the spheres of learning specially when it comes to discussions of history, culture and heritage. Specifically in the context of the creation and distribution of scientific information, the ever-present spectre of "publish or perish" must be mentioned. One can hardly overemphasize the detrimental effects such policies, founded as it’s in a paradigm of quantification, has on the quality of the information disseminated in scientific journals.
While the efficiency in the aspect of the different spheres of society being imposed by McDonaldization can be advantageous to man kind, I think the McWorld is being taken into to many levels by most institutions that we are revolving around today. While it may be true that a McDonald’s happy meal is an efficient way to satisfy one’s hunger, I believe we are slowly but surely losing touch of the original nutritional value that can be manifested in the cultural degradation which is evident all around the world in the manifestation of the new wave of globalization.
These days it the cultural display amongst younger people of different races and religions can barely be seen as the youth is now packaged in to one technological generation where in culture can only be displayed by one standardized McMTV generation where the genre has been set by pioneers of the entertainment industry.
Negative manifestations can be seen through this as the youth has now set a trend of detachment to the world around them. The rampant display of violence and sex in media doesn’t help at all as escalating levels of juvenile delinquency is now more evident in the lifestyle of today’s youth. The consumer culture is now at a wide spread like wild fire catching ablaze all that is in sight in one quick round.
It is true that the McDonaldization is evident in society today. Its fast domination of the world is not only amuzing but more alarming if you ask me. Different organizations across the globe is now in a totally different level of competitiveness that they begin to lose touch of the goals and mission while focusing on how to cope with the wave of coping with the big player of each modernized and changing Mcfield of the world that is now crossing barriers of culture religion and any differences that used to divide the world for both good and bad reasons.
While it is a good concept that the world can be united as one, unfortunately now Mcdonaldization is dividing it more in ways that can be irepairable as we now lose touch of our personal individuality in the mass scale of Mcpattenting each person to be one big global market.
Ritzer was right that the world was being Mcdonalized, what we can only hope for now is that this trend wont get big enough for our lives to be turned into packaged happy meals because that way we lose touch of so many important levels of our individuality that we should appreciate and embrace in our daily lives.
Ritzer, G. (1996). The McDonaldization of Society. Revised ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Pine Forge. 265p.
Alfino, M.,Caputo J., & Wynyard R. (1996). McDonaldization Revisited: Critical Essays on Consumer Culture, Westport: Praege
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