Organizational Behaviour

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The McDonaldization of society

THE MCDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY
George Ritzer, Explorations in Social Theory
From Metatehorizing to Rationalization

Ana Cristina Moraru

Organizational Behaviour, Semester I, MBA I
Prof. Dr. Radu Baltasiu
January 17, 2013
The McDonaldization of Society

McDonaldization is ”the process by 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.” George Ritzer is a sociologist that starting from the theory of Bureaucracy of Max Weber and passing through concepts like: Fordism, Taylorism, Sneakerization, Globalization or Americanization, makes a critical analysis of the impact that McDonaldization has on every aspect of the society. Ritzer highlights four mains dimensions that lie at the success of McDonaldization process: Efficiency – the optimum method for completing a task with the least amount of costs or effort. In a world where everything moves at the speed of light, where people are always in a hurry, McDonald’s offers the possibility to go from hungry to full in a tiny amount of time, sometimes without leaving your car. Other industries adopted the McDonald’s sistem too, e.g.: loosing weight much faster, fill your own cup service, paying bills online, etc. Efficiency is proven for the Mcworkers too. They are trained to behave all the same and to not deviate from the organizational rules. Calculability – the emphasis of the size vs cost vs time it takes to get the product. In other words, quantity became equivalent to quality. They implemented the idea ‚bigger is better’, they sell the Big Mac not the Good Mac. The bigger product it is, the better it tastes and you seem to pay a nominal amount of money for it and still the time required to eat is less than if you’ll cook yourself at home. The same calculability is available for the workers in the McDonaldize systems. They are expected to accomplish a lot of tasks, in the shortest time, for a low pay. Is not about how good they are at their jobs, is about how fast they are and agreeing to work a lot for a minimum salary. Predictability – the guarantee that the products of McDonald’s will look, taste and cost the same from a place to another. The standardized services that offers no surprises and assures you that you’ll share the same experience in every McDonald’s fast-food. The process of standardization applies to the workers too. They often have scripts to memorize and follow for whenever the occasion arises. Control – substitution of non human for human technology. McDonald’s controls their customers very subtle. Waiting lines, limitated menus, few options, incomfortable seats, all is done in order to control the traffic of clients. They wish them to eat quickly and leave so the flow of customers rise. The people who works in McDonaldized organizations are controled at a higher level and not that subtle like customers. They are trained to do a number of things in a precise way in a sort amount of time. The technologies used are designed to reinforce this control, e.g.: the soft drink dispenser that shuts itself when the glass is full, or the french fries machine that rings and lifts itself when the fries reach the perfect level to be served. These are non human technology designed to be handled by humans and making them feel threatened, that in case, they don’t manage to follow strictly the ’laws’ of the organization, they eventually will be replaced by those machines. Like an extent to this four dimensions George Ritzer outlines the concept of the irationality of rationality. The McDonaldized system offers powerful advantages based on a rational thinking. But like all rationals systems inevitabily they give birth to irational ones. The downside of McDonaldization are the unreasonable side effects it has on the environment. For example, McDonald’s USA gets their meat from South America, where the trees get cut down for a place...
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