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Analysis of The Main Points of Ritzer’s Mcdonaldization of Society

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The concept of “McDonaldization” was first introduced by George Ritzer in 1993, with his book “The McDonaldization of Society”. In today’s society, there has been a reawakening of issues, social movements, increasing of minimum wages, and inequality that has led to the reinvigoration of “McDonaldization in the 21st century.

McDonaldization is not only represented in the fast food industry. It can also be applied to all facades of today’s institutions and if not it’s just a matter of time. McDonald’s has been the adopted model that has influenced the likes of Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, and it has also reached up scaled higher priced chain restaurants. Other types of businesses like Old Navy, Macy’s, and Walmart have adapted the principle of McDonaldization other countries have adopted this principle and have had resounding success.

McDonaldization came after a series of social and economic developments, it allows us to do things we could not do in the past, but it also allows us to not repeat past mistakes. Not of much importance McDonaldization lead to the development of scientific management. It placed emphasis on predictability, and nonhuman technology the exerted control over workers. Like McDonaldization strip malls thrive on meeting the need of every customer from the age of 1-100. Strip malls, provide predictable, uniform, and profitable venues. The forces driving McDonaldization are higher profits at a lower cost. With booming success offered to consumers, workers and management. It is very important to mention there are many different contributing dimensions of McDonaldization. They are: efficiency, calculability, predictability and control. We must look at McDonaldization as both “enabling” and “constraining”.

Efficiency is part of McDonaldization faster services, tighter schedule and on time production. It’s the means to an end that people hardly rely on. Rather they rely on things previously discover. People and organizations rarely maximize because they are hampered by such factors as the constraints of history financial circumstances, organizational realities, and the limitations of human nature. There are many different ways to increase efficiency, by simplifying product, limited choices and also by putting customers to work. The system of McDonaldization works more efficiently by following steps of a predesigned process.

The calculability of McDonaldization is the counting and quality of the product being offered. Though it has positive consequences it is important to have large quantities of what is demanded. “Quantity tends to become a surrogate for quality”. (Reiter, 1991) It affects the quality of process and the end result. Calculability makes it easier to determine efficiency.

Normally, as consumers we prefer to know what to expect. The expectation of predictability gives us a peace of mind. As a part of McDonaldization, it makes the task easier for the consumer and the workers. Customers expect to order or purchase the same thing from one McDonald’s in Texas to McDonald’s in California or one Walmart in North Carolina to Walmart in Colorado. To achieve predictability, a rationalized society emphasizes discipline, order, systematization, formalization, routine, consistency, and methodical operation (Ritzer, p.79 2015). Products are not really different many brands are the same globally therefore displaying is the same, greetings, and the point of sale are very similar. Predictability does have problems; it turns the consuming process mind-numbing.

Control of humans through the use of nonhuman technology, does not only include robots and computers, but also assembly lines, bureaucracies, and manuals that tell you what you can and cannot do. These technologies are put in place to increase productivity, increase quality and lower the cost. Employees are easy to control; customers on the other hand are free to go somewhere else if they don’t like the service. McDonaldization is still developing ways to control customers.

From McDonalds, to the car making industry, shopping malls, and hospitals. Almost all occupations have some degree of McDonaldization. There are signs that this process runs through every kind of institution. Which means that McDonaldization is nowhere near its end. If you are not willing to cope with or can’t escape from McDonaldization, there are steps you can take. Through fantasy and the limitation of the experience. There are some who have formed a movement against McDonaldization and/or certain portions of the process. Like the campaign against fast food (the removal of Trans fat by some fast-food restaurants). The removal of fast food restaurants too close to neighborhoods and schools (to save the children). The renewal of packaging food to make it environmental friendly. The push to increase minimum wages, to close the wealth gap between the rich and the poor. An increasing number of people developing their own routines that are different from McDonaldization.

McDonaldization has lead others developing less rationalized alternatives. McDonaldization makes it clear that despite irrationalities the system has succeeded for good reason. Focusing on quality as oppose to the quantity of products. Reveling in their product and service, and offering customers a type of service that allows the consumer to be involved with management and employees to avoid the decline of quality.


  • Giddens, Anthony. (1984). The Constitution of Society. Berkley: University of California Press.
  • Reiter, Ester. (1991). Making Fast Food. Pg.107. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Ritzer, George. (2015). The McDonaldization of Society, 8th ed. pg. 79. Thousand Oak, CA. Sage Publication, Inc.
  • Simon, Herbert. (1957).Administrative Behavior, 2nd Ed. New York: Free Press.

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