MCDONALDIZATION THESIS 11
Applicationof the McDonaldization thesis in other industries apart from the fastfood industry
Theissue being discussed in this paper is a different industry that canapply the McDonaldization process apart from the fast food industry.The paper explains the principles underlying the McDonaldizationthesis and how they can apply to other industries apart from the fastfood industry. McDonaldization refers to the process through whichthe principles initially meant for the fast food restaurants aregaining dominance in major sectors of the American Society and therest of the world. This paper discusses the application of theMcDonaldization thesis in the shopping malls industry.
McDonaldizationis the process through which principles that were initially appliedin the fast foods industry have gained dominance in almost allindustries revolving around aspects of life (Ritzer, 1994). Suchindustries include the healthcare, shopping malls, education, andnewspaper industries. The McDonaldization process is still gainingdominance in other sectors with other industries expected to followsuit and apply the principles (Ritzer, 1996). The principles includepredictability, efficiency, calculability, replacement of human withnon-human technology, and increased control (Ritzer, 2002). Theseprinciples help in the maximization of profit hence their rampantgrowth and dominance in other sectors. This paper elaborates on theapplication of the McDonaldization thesis in the shopping mallsindustries.
Theterm McDonaldization was coined by a sociologist, George Ritzer, inthe book McDonaldizationof society (Ritzer,1998).Theword incorporates terms and concepts from sociology, economics, andmanagement to come up with a good understanding of the modernsociety. George defined McDonaldization to imply the process throughwhich principles of the fast food industries are gaining dominance inmore sectors of the American society and other parts of the world(Ritzer, 2009). The process simply means the rationalization andbreak down of a task into smaller ratios so that it can be madefaster, efficient, and cheap. Various industries and sectors haveborrowed from the concept to increase their level of production andprofits. Through the application of the concept, the industries havebecome more efficient and effective as a particular individual isassigned a particular task (Sharkey & Ritzer, 2000).
Theprocess of McDonaldization revolves around five major aspects asoutlined by George Ritzer. These aspects are efficiency,calculability, predictability, increased control, and replacement ofhuman with non-human technology (Ritzer, 2013). Although the conceptswere initially intended for the fast food industry, their applicationhas over time spread to other industries (Alan, 2009). The focus ofthis paper dwells on the application of the McDonaldization thesis inthe shopping malls industry. Efficiency refers to the ability toreach a certain end by using the least cost and effort possible. Theidea suits well to the specific interests of a particular industrythough it is made to appear as a benefit to the customers (Alfino,Caputo, & Wynyard, 1998). The idea is applicable in the shoppingmalls through the instances where customers are expected to collectfor themselves the items they need. This is contrary to the old timeswhereby the customer presented the orders of items needed to the shopattendants who would move around collecting the orders. In thisphenomenon, the customer mostly ends up performing the task that wasinitially done on behalf of them. Interestingly, the customersequally end up paying for the “privilege”. The customers end upconsuming more time at the shopping mall and have to learn newtechnology to measure up with the operations of the malls (Gabriel Etal, 2015). The customers also pay hiked prices for the industry tothrive and operate more efficiently by achieving high profitsmargins.
Calculability,on the other hand, places an emphasis on things that can bequantified (Esmer, 2006). In this case, the industry emphasizes onquantity as opposed to quality through the quantification process.This concept of quantification in the fast foods industry results ina decrease in quality for the consumers. This concept does not onlyresult in suffering for the consumers only but also for theemployees. The process employed in the production of large quantitiesof food usually results in employees performing small tasksrepetitively resulting in loss of pride in the assigned tasks (Smart,1999). This concept has been equally tapped by the shopping mallsindustries. Most of their products are sold depending on their weightrather than their quality. The malls have put up stands that sellproducts on the basis of their weight. For instance, most shoppingmalls sell groceries by their weight rather than the quality of thegroceries. The malls also place an emphasis on time by selling readycooked food. Through this venture, they encourage their customers topurchase things like a microwave for heating the food bought from thestores by encouraging customers that it will help save time. Theseprinciples are aimed at maximizing profits for the malls.
Predictabilitymeans the effort made to structure an environment in such a way thatpeople can easily tell what to expect (Ilan, 2004). From thisconcept, it is within the expectation of customers that they willreceive similar experiences in McDonaldized stores regardless of thelocation they visit. It is believed that people desire to experiencesimilar fun and satisfaction in the future at a different location toone that they experienced in the past (Bakardjieva, 2014). Thisconcept has been utilized by the shopping malls who ensure that theystock similar products at similar pricing in different locations. Thetasks undertaken by the employees are equally repetitive resultingnot only in efficiency but also consistence with the producingcompanies. This concept is applicable in the shopping malls becauseof the effect it has on the mode of shopping applied by the customers(McDonaldization Revisited: Critical Essays on Consumer Culture,1998). This concept is achievable through selling of similar goodsand products in their different stores in various locationsthroughout the world.
Theconcept of control and replacement of human with non-human technologywork hand in hand. To be more precise, replacing human with non-humantechnology is usually geared towards gaining greater control (Martin,1991). According to Ritzer, non-human technology controls both theworkers and the customers (Ritzer, 1994). For example, throughMcDonaldization, the non-human technology ensures there is controlover the employees which in turn ensures that consumers are servedaccording to their expectations. The same concept applies in theshopping malls. All products available in the shopping malls arepackaged, measured, and in automatic control. The employees in such aset up are not required to think but just to follow instructionsguided by the mall’s systems through a simple touch of buttons. Thecheckers working at the shopping malls equally do not have to thinkbut only scan the barcodes of already weighed and labeled products(Adam, 2005). The checkers are on the other hand being replaced byscanners to improve their efficiency.
Thenon-human technology has control over consumers too. In a fast foodrestaurant, consumers are subjected to structural constraints becausethey are expected to follow the norms once they enter into a fastfood restaurant (Pieterse, 2009). These instances subject a consumerto behave in the manner in which the fast food restaurant desires.This case is similar to the current trends taking place in theshopping malls. Just like the case with the employees, the scannersused in the shopping malls have control on the customers. Currently,most items we purchase lack pricing labels because we understand thecashier at the till has their pricing. Customers are thus denied theopportunity and ability to observe their spending as well as thecharges by the shopping malls. Consumers willingly accept thecertainty of the computerized checkpoints at the cashier’s till.This concept in its simplest form implies human skills andcapabilities are fast becoming a thing of the past (Turner, 2003).Our character and interactions as human beings are in a fast pacebeing overtaken by dependence on the use of a machine.
Theirrationality of rationality
McDonaldizationresults in many benefits and conveniences for the industries makinguse of its concepts. Such benefits include a variety of products,improved services, efficiency, faster services, and twenty-four hourbanking and shopping system (Strawbridge, 2003). People should,however, understand that there is a certain level of application ofthese rational processes that would result in irrational outcomes(Stephen &Phil, 1995). In more specific terms, irrationalityimplies that the rational processes being incorporated inMcDonaldization are not always reasonable systems in the simplestsense. Through this, Ritzer meant that the systems do not give peopleapplying them the basic human reasons of service (Ritzer, 2013). Forinstance, taking the case of fast food restaurants, taking longqueues and waiting to penetrate the drive through can betime-consuming. These systems as well do not help customers makesavings and in cases they do, the customers are subjected to moreworkloads. The foods being served is in most cases not nourishing andloaded with flavor enhancers and spices. Such processes result inhealth challenges in an initially healthy one. Although the actionstaken may seem rational, they end up resulting in irrational results.
Theabove scenario is equally evident in the shopping malls industries.The systems applied by the shopping malls could result indehumanizing work environments or places for the customers to beserved. Again, the systems being applied through McDonaldizationcould result in inefficiencies where the employees and customers aresubjected to many regulations (Deborah, 2009). The processes appliedby the shopping malls industries could end up being unpredictablefrom employees growing unclear of what is expected of them andcustomers missing out of the services they require. For example,shopping malls applying McDonaldization could result in astandardized customer service but lacking real friendliness (Drane,2008). This could easily result in the ineffectiveness of theprocess. Another good example is that people realize that someshopping malls offer substandard products but still purchase them onthe basis that they are efficient and fast. This shows the level withwhich people have embraced McDonaldization (Turner, 2003). Peopleprefer to walk or drive long distances so that they can purchaseproducts in a shopping mall despite their availability in a nearbystore.
Itis clearly evident that McDonaldization process has to a great extenttaken control of most industries and sectors in the economy besidesthe fast foods industry. An example of such industries is theshopping malls where major changes have been made to accommodate theMcDonaldization concept. Although the concepts affect negatively boththe employees and the consumers, the consumers face the majorchallenges (Smart, 1999). It is a good venture to embraceMcDonaldization in the other sectors apart from the fast foodindustries. People should, however, take precautions as they applythe principles appropriately for the benefit of all parties. That is,the industry and the consumers. This can be necessitated if peopleapply the principles rationally which in turn ensures that only thebest is tapped from McDonaldization.
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