McDonaldization of Society is a book written by a sociologist called George Ritzer in 1993. The author borrowed the concept of bureaucracy from a scholar called Max Weber to explain the way the society is changing. Ritzer used the paradigm of a fast-food restaurant to explain the process of McDonaldization. He sees the fast-food restaurant as a representative of the contemporary world we are living today and one which has dominated the American society and the world at large.
The author gives the analogy of the traditional set up (19th century) with rationalization which has taken root in the 21st century due to the emergence of technology, globalization, and advocacy for social change. He associates the success of fast food restaurants by rationality, efficiency, speed, convenience, and affordability. These features characterize the American society and the contemporary world.
McDonaldization is the process in which "the principles of fast food restaurants have come to dominate the American society and virtually every aspect of the society (Ritzer 371)." Some examples of McDonaldization include; America has become a nation driven by speed, technology, rationality, and efficiency. There is also the introduction of genetic engineering and industrial robots.
Some advantages of McDonaldization are; more goods and services reach many people, there is uniformity in products, good, and services available are affordable to all, customers have a chance to compare and no prejudice concerning sex or social class in the market.
Efficiency- this emphasis on maximum utilization of resources in the organization without wastage. McDonaldization has facilitated mostly in minimization of time
Calculability- McDonaldization focuses on objectivity and not subjectivity. Customers can get their large products within a short time hence reduces their expenses. The emphasis is on quantity and not quality.
Predictability- McDonaldization assures customers that they shall get same products and services in all McDonald outlets. The job description of the employees is also the same everywhere. This aspect enhances transparency.
Control- uniformity is depicted by both the working staff and products sold. The control measures put in place helps in monitoring.
Rationality is the process where traditional methods are replaced by modernity and new ways of thinking emphasizing on efficiency. It relates to Ritzer's argument in the sense that it forms the building block of McDonaldization by advocating for social change. Rationality does away with irrationalities which lead to poor quality work and loss of control as explained by Ritzer.
Yes, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of McDonaldization. The advantages favor the consumers directly who are key beneficiaries of McDonaldization. They are at the front in supporting for social change which changes their lives. They also support the fact that the McDonaldization process is efficient.
I watched about the importance of McDonaldization to students. From the video, Ritzer emphasis on the concept of rationality which produces an environment conducive for reading by the students. He further argues that McDonaldization changes students perception about their lives and more so, it opens the eye to look forward and backward never.
The following are ways I could resist McDonaldization;
Avoid restaurant and start cooking meals at home from scratch.
Choose the "voicemail" option when dialing a business so that you can be able to speak directly to a real person
Living in a typical environment I have ownership in, or I may individualize an apartment I may get myself staying.
I would start going to a local hairdresser or barber and completely avoid Supercuts and cutting chains
In case of an emergency that requires treatment, I will avoid "McDoctor" and go to a neighborhood doctor.
Ritzer, G. (Ed.). (1993). McDonaldization: the reader. Pine Forge Press.
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