Principles of Mcdonaldization

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One of the central challenges of living in an increasingly industrialized world is the shift in the economy caused by businesses that naturally emerge as an effort to save money. As new technology develops, it becomes much easier for companies to find alternatives to human labor in many positions, typically by introducing automated services or products that eliminate the need for people. This shift is part of a larger corporate trend called McDonaldization, a term that was first invented and popularized by George Ritzer. McDonaldization refers to the process by which companies begin to compartmentalize their most essential functions into specific duties and then working to ensure that those duties are all met in a fixed way, every time they are performed. Ritzer’s basis for explaining McDonaldization is that the process is rooted in the pursuit of rationalization, which itself aims to achieve the highest level of efficiency possible (Burleson, n.d., para. 3). At its most fundamental, the process of McDonaldization exists to attempt to find the most efficient way of completing the most essential duties of any business and ensure that these methods are followed without fail by all employees or machines to ensure a standardized product or result.

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Ritzer’s definition of McDonaldization centers around four key dimensions of the process. These are efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control, with nonhuman technology and quantity measures being supplementary dimensions. As automation increasingly looms in the near future, many companies have begun to shift their business models in order to ensure they continue profiting, and one of the most glaring examples of this is Amazon. Amazon has widely embraced McDonaldization in its business mode, beginning with its online site. Its website allows users to easily access their personal account information, search for goods, and have all relevant information regarding products listed clearly and directly. Shopping is simplified to its most essential processes on Amazon.com, and Amazon’s shipping process also follows the McDonaldization ethos. In shipping centers, some employees are guided by devices that give them clear instructions on what products to pick, while others are tasked with packaging these products into boxes, working machines that finish preparing them, and sending them off for delivery (Amazon, n.d., p. 1).

There are clear benefits associated with embracing the dimensions of McDonaldization. This model ensures that there is a clear outcome on every transaction and that the experience of customers and employees remains consistent and dependable. Expectations are clear for employees, meaning that excuses for poor performance or failures can quickly be isolated and addressed appropriately. Customers, on the other hand, are provided with a product or service they need without having to litigate with complicated systems or operations, allowing them to have a more pleasant experience. Unfortunately, these dimensions also stifle innovation within any given company, as employees are not allowed to deviate from their instructions. Customers may also feel detached from their products, potentially impacting their willingness to engage with the company, and an employee shortcoming may be easily over penalized.

Amazon’s core business model depends on their ability to provide goods and services quickly and dependably. McDonaldization undoubtedly allows Amazon to achieve this goal much easier than a more loosely structured system of operations would. The company approaches their objectives extremely rationally, and while this has been clearly effective and beneficial form a business standpoint I believe that it is undeniable that the system has also been harmful in many ways. Numerous Amazon workers have complained over the course of several years about abuses carried out by the company that detrimentally affect the wellbeing of its employees. Moreover, this system can make it easier to rationalize ethically compromising practices in the name of personal or organizational gain, making McDonaldization a questionable system of operations, at best. I have found that McDonaldization in my own social experiences has been beneficial, in the sense that I know what I can expect from certain corporations. However, there are certain aspects of my life where McDonaldization has been implemented and it’s not a fit for the industry it has infiltrated. One example is healthcare, it’s hurting more than it’s helping providers and patients. 

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Principles Of Mcdonaldization. (2021, Jul 26). Retrieved December 2, 2022 , from
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