What is McDonaldization?
McDonaldization is an idea developed by an American sociologist George Ritzer. In his book ‘The McDonaldization of Society’, he defines it as the way in which principles of the fast-food industry have come to take up the aspect of the American society as well as the world at large. The process has transformed the principles of people’s experience of production and consumption as well as business. Being a way of life, McDonaldization not only affects the fast-food restaurants, but also education systems, healthcare and entirely sweeping through everything people do. This reason is due to society being fast-paced. Through this new way of working out things, the world is being caught in the strings of McDonaldization for dropping traditional and old systems of carrying out tasks. Customers have the knowledge of how much they could spend on food that would satisfy them every time. To understand this concept of McDonaldization, one ought to fathom rationalization. In a nutshell, the term refers to involvement of settled and routinized procedures while dealing with situations that have a recurring manner. It is where emotions, traditions and values are substituted with rational, calculated aspects. This paper will critically analyze McDonaldization based on persisting dimensions such as efficiency, predictability, calculability and liberty from human technology.
Efficiency is the choosing of the optimum means to the result. It is the best method of getting from one point to another. It involves focusing on managing to minimize the time needed to end individual chores and time needed to finish the whole process or operation of distribution and production. Additionally, this theme is majorly for the best interest of the firm or industry such as salad bars, self-service gasoline, ATMs, voicemail, microwave dinners, drive-up windows and supermarkets, compared to groceries where one used to place orders at the grocery. The absorbing element is that the customer ends up doing the task that was previously done by the attendants for them. In this traditional model, high costs have to be incurred so that the business operates more efficiently. In addition, more time is spent learning new technology, which is a setback to business growth.
Another theme tabled by Ritzer is calculability. It is basing focus on quantity rather than evaluation of quality. The business sacrifices the quality standards of the commodity to gain more quantity standards. This can be attributed to the slogan “the bigger the better”. Here the idea is based on getting more food at cheaper prices. This relays the sense that the quality is equal to big quantity of which not always true. Some of the examples are “Big Gulp” and “Big Mac”. Another relation of this dimension to McDonaldization is that the shorter the time taken to carry out a certain task the better. Other relation include “Losing weight in 2 days”, “Using a microwave for minimal time in the kitchen”, and in the media especially in news reporting, no information is intended to slow one down. Information is short and direct to the point. It is clear to realize that the perceived neutral measures intended for standardization later lead to the reduction process of production to the issue of numbers. Though this may not prove to be harmful for the fries and the burgers, it may lead to depersonalization of the workers and customers.
Predictability on the other hand is the initiative to design our environment to assure uniformity of the product and having standardized outcomes. For instance, all shopping malls start seeming the same and all highway outlets get the same grouping of businesses. The rational society should know what to expect. They want assurance of fun, taste, satisfaction and some benefits they get when served in one place will be replicated in another new place. The phrase “A Big Mac is a Big Mac is a Big Mac” by the Big Mac company, means if you happen to visit these three distinct points the Big Mac will be the same at every single point.
Finally, there is control through non human technology. In spite of all the efforts, human input can be found at times to fall short and there are bound to be shortcomings. Machines replace human work in calculating every small element like the size of meat in hamburgers to the time it set to sizzle on one side. This can be witnessed by the substitution of machines for humans for automation as seen in every aspect of life from home to business environment. When tasks are recurrent and controlled, employers force workers not to think, therefore causing control over them every time.
In conclusion, McDonaldization influences the values, goals, preferences, worldviews, identity, and social relation of the society. McDonaldization is interpreted as global occurrence by sociologist, driven by western corporations, cultural domination and economic power of the west, which in this sense has led to world homogenization of both social and economic life.