20 Apr

In my researching efforts for this blog I have recently come across the term “McDonaldization.”  My first initial reaction went something like “what!?”  After reading a bit more about it I have decided to dedicate a post to the concept.  However, this post will be quite different from any of my previous ones.

As it turns out, McDonaldization is term developed by a man named George Ritzer, who wrote a book about it in 1993 (The McDonaldization of Society).  Now, this concept doesn’t necessarily pertain to the specific foods served at McDonalds and it does not necessarily pertain to the nutrition of McDonalds or fast food as is the usual topic of discussion on this site.

McDonaldization does, however, refer to a lifestyle and a culture.  McDonaldization is the idea that a culture has the same characteristics of a fast food restaurant.  The theory consist of four princicples:

Efficiency – getting a task done the quickest or most optimal way.  For McDonald’s customers this would be the quickest way to get from hungry to full.  In the bigger picture of the theory, efficiency just means that society has become focused toward the minimization of time for all aspects.

Predictability – All McDonald’s provide the same service.  Related to society-jobs are becoming more repetitive and predictable.

Calculability – Quantity over quality.  More food in a short amount of time is equal to high quality food.  In the workplace, employees may be judged by how much work they are getting done, not the quality of it.

Control – standardized employees; the replacement of humans by machines and/or technology.

I think there is something to be said for this theory.  It is an overall lifestyle and culture change that Americans are adopting.  I’m not saying there aren’t any flaws with the theory, and I surely have not done enough research on the topic to be an expert, but there are definitely some truths to it.



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