GEORGE RITZER ON “MCDONALDIZATION”

“McDonaldization” is a term which was coined by Ritzer to indicate the adoption of the fast food industry characteristics by a society or a culture. The McDonald’s fast food industry is famed for a number of features which include, fast delivery of food, uniformity of the services across the country and in different parts of the world, the standardized working environment for its workers and the quality of the products offered. The globalization effect has helped the McDonald’s way of doing things to spread all over the world. Many organizations have adopted this way of doing things either knowingly or unknowingly. But the fact is, the effect is spreading at a very fast rate in all the corners of the world. This has led sociologists like Ritzer to question its viability and weather it is doing any good to humanity in genera (Fei, 2015).
Ritzer puts McDonald’s sub culture into four broad aspects like efficiency, this referring to the minimal time used in meeting the needs of the customer in this case being the difference in time in one being hungry to the time one gets full. One is always assured that whenever they feel hungry, if they visit a McDonald’s outlet within a very short time they will have solved their problem. This happens courtesy of the fast way of service delivery adopted. One does not wait for long periods of time before being served. However this aspect comes at a price, for instance the quality of the product is compromised.
Predictability and standardized services is another aspect which refers to the way in which the McDonald’s products have the same characteristics across the world. Each and every McDonalds store offers same products in terms of quality quantity and also the time spent in their delivery is same. Moreover, the type of products offered does not vary in any way across all the stores in the world. In short a service and product that one acquires in one store will also be same in the other store, provided they are all McDonalds. This also means that the customer go into the stores fully aware of what they will be offered. There are no surprises (Ritzer, 2011).
An aspect of calculability is also derived from the McDonalds sub culture as argued by Ritzer. This aspect indicates the use of sales to quantify the objective of the organization unlike the use of the quality and this specific case taste of the products and the nutritional value. The calculability aspect was promoted by the adoption of the mindset that quality equals to quantity by the McDonalds. The company does not use taste to calculate the quality of its products, but rather sales. Literally, they state that the delivery of large quantity of products in a short time is the same as offering a quality product.
The aspect of control was also attributed to the McDonalds way of doing things. This is evident in the way the staff working in the different stores are standardized. The fact that the duties and activities of the staff are standardized and routinely, it becomes quite easy for them to be replaced by technology like the robots. The staff can also be easily transferred from one store to another without them having any problems in adopting to their new environments. This is advantageous to the management and to the staff to some extent (Beck, 2003).
The aspect of rationality also comes to the fore, Ritzer argues that the workers of the McDonalds are denied their right to behave as human beings. The fact that the activities conducted are standardized, predictable and repetitive means that the workers cannot be allowed to put in their creativity. They work within the confines of an already preset environment. This completely denies them any space to maneuver and thereby making them work like robots. Another irrationality identified is the fact that as more people get used to the McDonalds products the more they will be willing to consume them, this lead to large turnouts at the fast food outlets hence longer queues. The food will no longer be fast and this is at the expense of the quality. This beats logic.
The McDonaldization effect is no longer confined in the fast food industry the education system for instance has started adopting this aspects. Institutions which offer degrees and certificates through the internet have come up in the recent past. These institutions offer a large number of courses whose quality is not assured. The courses are just repackaged in order to look attractive to the clients. This also creates a sense of predictability to its users because of their standard nature. The time taken in the completion of such courses is a very short one too. The shallow nature of the courses offered is concealed through conducting rigorous advertising campaigns.
Apart from the online institutions, the schooling system in the different parts of the world are becoming similar in all aspects. For instance the learning methods, the content and the way the knowledge is delivered to the learners is becoming quite similar. For instance the structure of the classrooms, the content of the syllabuses and the student examination mechanisms are similar in most countries. Their major aim being to churn out a large number of students without necessarily being keen on the quality of knowledge imparted. The risk of graduates from such institutions being non-creative has been heightened. This is because the schooling system did not focus on developing the students’ critical thinking and creativity in the first place
The higher education have also adopted the use of computers in the marking of student examinations thereby increasing the efficiency of the lecturers. The intuitions have also introduced online and virtual learning facilities. The fact that these online systems are not that easy to develop complicates matters. The institutions are reusing the online modules thereby creating a sense of predictability to the students. The higher education institutions have also been coming up with very many courses to suit almost each and every developing need of the society. However the content of such courses is quite shallow and unhelpful to the students in the end.
Ritzer also identifies journalism as another sector which has been adversely affected by the “McDonaldization. It is termed as junk-journalism whereby the information is not of a good quality but all the same it is churned at a very high rate. The proprietors of such kind of journalism develop eye catching and captivating stories aimed at capturing the readers’ eye but whose credibility and authenticity is questionable. The information developed is quite predictable too. In most cases it will be dealing with issues like politics, relationships and other juicy pieces of information like gossip which in most cases do not have any bases. The development of such predictable form of journalism has meant that the human input is growing lesser and lesser. The time taken in the development of articles is usually much shorter as compared to other articles from reputable journalists. This type of journalism has also affected newspapers and the televisions.
The aviation industry is another area which has seen the introduction of the mechanized and automation in the control of the planes. The efficiency aspect has also been introduced in this industry whereby the time of travelling has been greatly reduced. Travelers are assured of faster arrivals at their places of destination. The pilot has also been reduced to a just an observer. This is a manifestation of a McDonald’s aspect where the employees are being replaced by technologies. This comes about due to the standardization and predictability of the tasks involved in a certain place. The human input in such a workplace has been cut off. This has been witnessed in most airlines across the world (Ritzer, 2010).
The globalizing nature of McDonald effect has also affected the retail industry where the buyers just put their goods on checking systems. The attendants in this sector are on the verge of being replaced by the checking systems. The highly standardized and predictable activities of the workers in such settings has completely robbed them of their sense of humanity. Moreover, the standardization has also created a chance for human replacing technologies to be introduced.
Online shopping platforms like e-bay have also come up in order to improve the efficiency of the delivery of goods to the buyers. This platforms promise fast delivery of goods to the customers. The customers access the platform from any location on the globe. The fact that e-bay is online means that the culture has been spread to all corners of the globe. The seller and the buyer are also brought together within a very short time. It only takes a click of a button for one to get connected to potential buyers and sellers all across the globe. The activities carried out within the platform are also highly standardized.
Medicine has not been left out of McDonaldization effect. The online medicine is another aspect which has developed of late. The fact that a doctor who could have served a very few number of patients serving a large number of patients is a clear indicator that quantity has been preferred over quality. The type of medical service being offered through the online platform is also quite efficient. The time between the consultation and diagnosis to treatment has been shortened. The doctors are also available 24 hours and throughout the world. A patient can also get medical advice concerning a health problem within a very short time. This clearly indicates at how efficient the system is at solving the problem of its users.
Dating services are also being offered at a larger scale through the online platforms. This also ensures that activities which used to take a lifetime have been shortened and made quite easy. One can get a life partner within a very short time. This happens through the matching of the profiles of different individuals and those with similarities are deemed as being good partners and making a perfect match. The fact that one is able to acquire a partner within a very short time points out to the efficiencies of such systems at delivering results and impacting on the cultures of different individuals. The activity is also wholly carried out using computers with the human beings having been relegated to just an observatory position.
The tourism industry has also experienced the “McDonaldization” effect to some extent. The tourists frequenting a specific resort for instance will always be taken through the same sites over and over again. This creates a sense of predictability on the part of the tourist. On the part of the attendants this tends to create a standardized way of doing things. It brings about the control effect which can lead to the workers being replaced by robots and other technologies. The popularity of a tourists destinations means that visitors will come frequently for sight-seeing. This worsens the situation (Siriner, 2011).
“McDonaldization” effect is spreading at quite an astonishing rate globally. It has both positive and negative effects. However, in general the negative effects outweigh the positive effects by far. Humanity has to come up with resolutions where possible in order to mitigate the said effects. The effect for instance is threatening to relegate human beings to mere observers in the world they were meant to enjoy. Moreover, the introduction of machines is killing creativity which is a much needed component in the development and wellbeing of human beings. This fact has majorly affected the very system that had allocated the duty of promoting creativity-the education system.

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