Critical Analysis of McDonaldization
This document gives an analysis and various views on McDonaldization’s reforming effects in a viable society. Various views of sociologist such as Ritzer on McDonaldization are critically analyzed. The document introduces the concept and its effects in the transformation of the societal order. Various opinions on McDonaldization are explained in the introduction and possible impacts in the transformation of the society. The document also analyzes various concepts and dimensions spinning around McDonaldization.
Fast food chains have become major hits in virtually all European countries and America to be precise with more fast food outlets springing up. This can be attributed to the fact that most of these European countries have of late developed the urge to inculcate the spirit of rationalization and promoting speed and efficiency in their operations. It is this kind of rationalization, speed, and efficiency that is mainly promoted by McDonald’s system from the way they carry out their services. Hence, most people use the term McDonaldization to represent the sudden revolution of the contemporary American society, especially on homemade meals and fast foods among other inherent developments. In essence, the book chapter ‘The Daily Targum: Two Opinions on McDonaldization’, explains the fact that the business environment of the American society is being changed by bin name establishments such as McDonald and Starbucks. He further gives two opinions on globalization and argues that globalization should be eradicated given that these relatively big corporation are constantly driving the small ones out of business, and that every country should have its unique strategies.
In other opinion, globalization is described as a great thing that should encouraged as it is associated with economic progress and general development. The speed at which big corporations in America have increased in number is appalling with emphasis on speed of service and prices of products. Notably, most of these outlets are being operated efficiently and do sell relatively cheaper food. For instance, the term ‘McDonaldization’ can also be explained by the fact that the big food chains are constantly replacing home cooking and family meals. Most Americans will point at the significance of these food chains without paying particular attention on their disadvantages. With more embracing the fast food chains, the inculcation of the American culture, which is based on rationalization, efficiency, and non-personal principles, is long overdue.
The concept and dimension of McDonaldization
Rationalization has taken its toll widely across America with considerable impacts being reported in other parts of the world. The concept entails such aspects spinning around the consistent expansion of fast food outlets, television based dinners among others that have evenly spread and are important in an economy. Rationalization can be described as a slow process that can be effected over a period of time, while rationality can be thought of as the possible outcome of rationalization (Bruenderman, 2009). Due to its historical imminent nature, rationalization has its strong origin from the western regions of the universe. The greatest authors of that particular time in history that include Max Weber who was a renowned sociologist regarded this society as the core of the ever growing rationalization process. In America today, once the term ‘revolution’ is mentioned, it is nothing but the revolution of the fast food restaurant and other big corporations that comes into the mind of the populaces. This is presently being referred to as ‘McDonaldization of the society’ given its fast expansion rate. However much the efficient fast food restaurants cannot be used to express rationality in America, it is the only pitch perfect example that can be used to explain the possible outcomes of adequate validation of fast food chains.
Societies that are constantly linked to constant change of ideas are those which value adequate efficiency, being able to be adequately dedicated, and the ability to replace human technology with the modern technologies. The whole society is in great danger of being deceived by the numerous benefits that have been made available by the constant positive change of ideas some of which are assured to be enhanced in the near future cook (Bruenderman, 2009). The constant change of ideas leads to a society where a huge chunk of prominence is offered to finding a solution to any given challenge. Families living in American societies and employed on wages, for instance, are rarely employed giving some of their time to prepare their own meals, and for the very few who do so, they most of the time rely on the recipes provided in the various cookbooks which are relatively efficient for beginners who are still learning to cook (Bruenderman, 2009). However, such modes of cooking are on the fall in the current societies that value efficiency and quality. This is because most of the families do prefer the readily available and prepared meals to cooking.
To most of the families today, the type of dinner that used to be embraced by older people entailing traditional dishes and meals and dining together is no longer being practiced. This can be attributed to the emergence of fast food restaurants that most families prefer to go for meals replacing home cooking effectively. These fast food restaurants have taken advantage of this and are nowadays offering efficient and organized dinner dates for families (Bruenderman, 2009). With the latest development enhanced by the fast food restaurants, the provision of the ‘drive- through windows’ is also continuing to intricate the efforts by such restaurants such as McDonalds to enhance quality foods and promote a wider variety in dining culture (Bruenderman, 2009).
This is because families can now drive to the nearest restaurants, pick the available fast meals via the windows and eat them in their very vehicles. This, beyond all the reasonable doubt is an organized and well carried out activity that has taken the dining experience to another level (Bruenderman, 2009). The efficient production and distribution of food by the various well-structured systems greatly rely on the ability of the people to comfortably take their meals at their homes, in their vehicles or at the available fast food restaurants, which are well spread throughout (Bruenderman, 2009). All organizations with the aim of providing food supplies to consumer are all geared towards ensuring coherence and a satisfied customer base. However, this continued expansion of big food outlets and other establishments have resulted into unfair competition and loss of diversity.
Different themes explaining McDonaldization process
For the rationalization, process to be deemed fit enough, the act of predictability between places must be ensured (Ritzer, 2008). In an enlightened society, most people when they are acquiring various goods and commodities, they always require that they be explained for steadfastly how the goods will be beneficial to them once they acquire them. As this will help them know, predict and analyze whether this new commodity will refer them to another sphere (Ritzer, 2008). In addition, they will determine whether the new commodity will just make them stagnant in the same sphere setting and be relatively similar to the earlier commodity that they had acquired earlier (Ritzer, 2008). For parity to be ensured from time to time, a levelheaded society must put efforts in ensuring issues such as the discipline and pliability are held up high. Home cooking, as compared to TV dinners that that are mostly embraced by the modern families, is an un-predictable activity with relatively little guarantee that the very it will taste the same time after time. TV dinners, however, are foreseeable since the meals served during such times is more or less the same from time to time across different places. This is yet another effect of ‘McDonalization’, the increase in universal ‘sameness’ as most of these big corporations are rarely innovative.
This makes TV dinners more attractive (Ritzer, 2008). Fast food restaurants are given the upper hand when it comes to the ranking in terms of predictability. For pliability to be of the maximum, such restaurants only provide constrained menu to its customers. Raw materials, technologies and the various techniques used in production activities, which are always alike in nature always, determine the predictable outputs (Ritzer, 2008). Such restaurants such as McDonald’s not only have their foods predictable in nature, but even their logos are as well as the work force involved. It is due to this same urge to ensure predictability that food supplied to McDonald’s and various homes are the exact duplicate from place to place.
Replacing Human by Non-human technology
These modern machines and technologies are very crucial to the establishment given their ability to justify what human beings think and act accordingly (Ritzer, 2008). Despite the several attempts that have been put in place to ensure that human behavioral traits are made efficient and predictable, individuals have continued to act insufficiently. This resolves the claim that despite what one does, people still choose to cling to their abilities to think and act in varied unforeseen manners (Ritzer, 2008). For instance, individuals still choose to make meals that are homemade, eat in antique diners among other intrinsic characteristics. As a result of these susceptibilities, there exists a superior interest among the market players aimed at uplifting coherence in using enlightened and levelheaded technologies to curb individual actions (Ritzer, 2008). In essence, McDonald’s lack sufficient machines to perform such acts as cleaning dishes and serving food to its customers, but it does have a group of committed employees whose capacity to execute their responsibilities is immense.
The workforce’s acts based on their free will allowing them to be productive and innovative eliminating the significance of these machines. The company has also stipulated certain rules and regulations to govern the conducts of their customer service (Ritzer, 2008). In addition, there is a wider variety of technologies that most of the time have been set to resolve and assist workers accomplish certain actions. These machines include the drink dispensers, which do shut on their own when the water glasses are full each item’s price, is programmed in the cash register. As a result of such machines, there are certain procedures and detailed rules that have been outlined to dictate the behavior of the workers (Ritzer, 2008).
As long as individuals have been reduced to robot-like creatures, it is easy to replace them with real mechanical robots (Ritzer, 2008). The possibility of this is just a matter of time given the advent of technology. Just like most companies, McDonald Company is analyzing a possibility of setting up a restaurant that only has mechanical robots serving the food replacing manual human labor that would not be required from that day forward. The recent history of work reveals the inherent issues associated with the efforts that have been put in place to enhance service delivery (Ritzer, 2008). With an objective of possibly replacing human manual labor with non-human and robotic technology, the company is bracing itself for massive competition from rival companies based on technological applications (Ritzer, 2008). This is as a result of the decision that was made by the science department to provide well detailed and adamant set of rules concerning how jobs were to be carried out which were to be indiscriminately and compliantly followed by the workers and not perform it according to how they deemed fit.
The varying skills that were required to perform a duty were delicately laid out and split into routine procedures that were to be taught to all workers (Ritzer, 2010). This reduced the normal human worker to nothing but a machine to perform repeatedly the same number of simple activities. We have reached a time in history where technological advancements have reached a point where human workers are being replaced by mechanical robots. With the introduction of robots, the world have definitely reached the final stage of substituting human labor with non-human technology (Ritzer, 2010).
Following huge investments being injected in the various corporations’ brand product by the respective franchisees, most of the outlets have been set up in many places all over the world. This has created a whole package of new room for jobs (Bohm, 2006). The people who are employed because of the ‘McDonalization’ at times do get access to high professional training and have certain developmental programs offered to them at subsidized or no cost sometimes. The best part of it all is that they even have the chance to acquire qualifications that are nationally accepted which always bounds between viable certificates such as degree certificates in managing business operations to other professional experiences (Bohm, 2006). This is crucial in gaining the requisite skills and experiences and prepares such potential employees to embrace the dynamics associated with work settings. The ultimate result of this is that, unemployment will reduce, but other anti-social behaviors that will reduce since the number of people idling around shall decrease (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000).
Control is one of the main aspects of rationalization and McDonalization (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000). Justified systems are aligned towards it and structured to hasten in varied senses. Generally, justified rational settings are always brought up to allow for greater management over the ambiguities that occur in life that entail birth, death among others (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000). However, they are at most times geared towards the enhancement of greater management in the biggest ambiguity in life. This may also imply ‘other people’ meaning the management and rule of superiors that they exert on their subordinate and the control the workers engage their customers (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000). Several techniques that have been set up such as amniocentesis which provide parents with an earlier knowledge concerning the kind of child they will have, and so extra hard work has been put in the fight to enhance rationalized food production.
This, among others, is arguably the primary aim of ensuring that there is a high level management and control of starvation and hunger problems. Constant supply of food can make life more promising for a huge number of individuals who currently live under tight and life threatening conditions because of starvation (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000). Specifically, McDonald’s, has ensured control over its employees through the conduction rationalization in terms of preparation of food and serving to the customers. Other related outlets in the country have also witnessed such kind results. In a justified society, most of the structures that are available tend to exercise control over the very people that provide labor for them. Notably, due to the extensive boundaries that do exist and the intensity to which the rational structures can exert pressure on its workforce, many employers running such structures are compelled to enhance total rationalization of their activities to get rid of the worker. This ultimately gives rise to the robotic technology that promotes total control of processes (Ritzer, & Ovadia, 2000).
Irrationality of rationality
Irrationality is a concept used to describe how absurd the rational systems given that they tend to refute the primary basic humankind cognitions spinning around the individuals who are responsible for serving their interests (Ahuvia, & Izberk-Bilgin, 2014). As seen, rationality, that enhances dehumanization as it relates human beings to be robot-like in nature. Some of these dehumanizing signs include taking a meal at a fast food restaurant and work being carried out at various automobile assemblies. Rationalization has as well brought about dissatisfaction making people to live the rest of their lives without excitement. In general, a completely rational society would be a very desolate and tiresome place to exist and abode from (Ahuvia, & Izberk-Bilgin, 2014).
With MacDonald’s as the ideal case, rationalization is taking place in the whole of America and at an accelerating rate in many other parts of the world. In most modern societies, the main aspects that are being stressed mainly are efficiency, predictability, supplanting of robotic technology and control over ambiguity. Despite the fact that constant positive rationalization has brought along with it numerous advantages, it has as well carried along with it a considerable huge number of problems, which seemingly will hasten in the coming years. However, these very problems should not be considered to be a rebound for a relatively low-case rational society. Such rebounds are most of the times impossible and cannot be desired. The main thing required is not a low-degreed rational society but a higher control rate of the rationalization process, which as well entails alleviating its irrational side effects.
Ritzer, G. (2008) (Eds.). The “McDonaldization” of society. Journal of American Culture, 6(1), 100-107.
Bohm, R. M. (2006). “McJustice”: On the McDonaldization of Criminal Justice. Justice Quarterly, 23(1), 127-146.
Ritzer, G., & Ovadia, S. (2000). The process of McDonaldization is not uniform, nor are its settings, consumers, or the consumption of its goods and services. New Forms of Consumption: Consumers, Culture, and Commodification, 33-49.
Bruenderman, A. (2009). Negative effects of McDonaldization. Gatton Student Research Publication, Gatton College of Business & Economics, University of Kentucky, 1(2), 1-8.