Sunday, 19 January 2014

Rationalisation and McDonaldisation

Rationalisation is the theory of Max Webber referring to the "replacement of traditions, values, and emotions as motivators for behaviour in society with rational, calculated ones."

This website here explains Rationality. Rationalisation is what Weber regards to be "one of the most important characteristics of the development of Western society and capitalism." 

McDonaldization is the theory of George Ritzer which expands on Max Weber's work on rationalisation. It is not about McDonnalds the fast food chain itself but the chain is representative of principles. "The rational principles that lie at the base of the fast-food restaurant are spreading throughout American society as well as the rest of the world." (Ritzer)
The term McDonaldization refers to “the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world. “(Ritzer, 1993:1).

"The process of McDonaldization takes a task and breaks it down into smaller tasks. This is repeated until all tasks have been broken down to the smallest possible level. The resulting tasks are then rationalized to find the single most efficient method for completing each task. All other methods are then deemed inefficient and discarded."

Ritzer outlines five major themes within the process of McDonaldization: Efficiency, calculability, predictability, increased control, and the replacement of human by non-human technology.

A result of McDonaldisation, "All shopping malls begin to look the same and all highway exits have the same assortment of businesses." In the same way a Big Mac will be the same all over the world. 

Negative aspects to McDonaldisation: deskilling of labour force due to machines (dependance on the machine), quantity (size) over quality, material waste, everything is the same- no individuality, customers having to self service e.g. self checkout. 

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