The McDonaldization of Society (Pine Forge Press, 2000)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008



The McDonaldization of Society is a sociological study, but not a dry and jargon-filled one. It examines the effect that the success of McDonalds has had on numerous aspects of society, and how McDonaldization, with it's rationalized processes, is being incorporated into almost every other human endeavor.

Posted by St. Drogo at 12:17 PM  

6 comments:

P. 28 - "Discussing the Holocaust in the context of McDonaldization may seem extreme to some readers. Clearly, the fast-food restaurant cannot be discussed in the same breath as the Holocaust. There has been no more heinous crime in the history of humankind. Yet I have strong reasons for presenting the Holocaust as a precursor of McDonaldization. First, the Holocaust was organized around the principles of formal rationality, relying extensively on the paradigm of that type of rationality - the bureaucracy. Second, the Holocaust was also linked to the factory system, which you will soon discover was related to other precursors of McDonaldization. Finally, the spread of formal rationality today, through the process of McDonaldization, supports Bauman's view that something like the Holocaust could happen again."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:12 PM  

P. 81-82 - "Also illustrative of the impact of calculability on industry is the famous case of the Ford Pinto. Because of competition from the manufacturers of small foreign cars, Ford rushed the Pinto into production, even though preproduction tests had indicated its fuel system would rupture easily in a rear-end collision. The expensive assembly line machinery for the Pinto was already in place, so Ford decided to go ahead with the production of the car without any changes. Ford based its decision on a quantitative comparison. The company estimated that the defects would lead to 180 deaths and about the same number of injuries. Placing a value, or rather a cost, on them of $200,000 per person, Ford decided that the total cost from these deaths and injuries would be less than the $11 per car it would cost to repair the defect. Although this calculation may have made sense from the point of view of profits, it was an unreasonable decision in that human lives were sacrificed and people maimed in the name of lower costs and higher profits. This is only one of the most extreme of a number of such decisions made daily in a society undergoing McDonaldization."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

P. 92 - "Fast-food restaurants try in many ways to make workers look, act and think more predictably. Thus, all employees must wear uniforms and follow dress codes for things such as makeup, hair length and jewelry. Training programs are designed to indoctrinate the worker into a 'corporate culture', such as the McDonalds attitude and way of doing things. Highly detailed manuals spell out, among other things, 'how often the bathroom must be cleaned to the temperature of grease used to fry potatoes. .. and what color nail polish to wear.'"

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

P. 102 - "There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be safe from harm. However, society as a whole has surrendered responsibility for providing safe environments to commercial interests. Because our city streets are unsafe, people shop in malls. Because our playgrounds are unsafe, children play in commercial 'fun' centers. The problem is that people are therefore spending large amounts of leisure time in commercial environments that are eager to lead them into a life of consumption. If the larger society provided safe and attractive recreation centers for both adults and children, we would not be forced to spend so much of our lives, and do so many things, in commercial venues."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

P. 107 - "Like the military, fast-food restaurant have generally recruited teenagers because they surrender their autonomy to machines, rules, and procedures more easily than adults. Fast-food restaurants also seek to maximize control over the work behavior of adults. Even managers are not immune from such efforts."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

P. 125 - "Although the forces of McDonaldization trumpet greater efficiency, they never tell us for whom the system is more efficient. Is it efficient for consumers who need only a loaf of bread and a carton of milk to wend their way past thousands of items they don't need? Is it efficient for consumers to push their own food over the supermarket scanner, swipe their own credit or debit cards, and then bag the groceries themselves? Is it efficient for people to pump their own gasoline? Is it efficient for them to push numerous combinations of telephone numbers before they hear a human voice? Most often, consumers find that such systems are not efficient for them. Most of the gains in efficiency go to those who are pushing rationalization. Similarly, those at the top of an organization impose efficiencies on those who work at or near the bottom of the system: the assembly line workers, the counter persons, the call-center staff. The owners, franchisees, and top managers want to control subordinates, but they want their own positions to be as free of rational constraints - as inefficient - as possible. Subordinates are to follow blindly the rules, regulations and other structures of the rational system whil those in charge remain free to be creative."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:14 PM  

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