Any company, being operated in the post-industrial society, to be successful necessarily had to introduce common and simplified cultural forms that would improve communication with consumers. Hence, this period is characterized by the access of a large number of people to the consumption of goods and services. There McDonaldization was born.
McDonald’s has set the standard of consumer’s ethics and culture and has also exported it to other parts of the world. It is expressed in a fast and quality service, respect for customers and national characteristics of each country, in providing products of constant and consistent quality, and so on.
Thanks to McDonald’s universal standards its occurrence on the markets around the world helped shaping the phenomenon of global cities. Other network companies that provide various services picked up the predictability, which McDonald’s originally spread.
This predictability is a guarantee that one being anywhere will always receive almost identical in content and quality goods and services. Now, people’s desire to travel, move or work in a country where these familiar network companies are present is increasing as they are confident that they can adapt to a foreign environment.
Many people do not mind the concept of McDonaldization. However, the first impression of people who hear about it, as a rule, is false, as this concept does not mean the same company, but the whole world of its own. It includes a network of shops, restaurants, fast food, various carbonated beverages such as Coca-Cola, large corporations, for example, Apple, Nike and others.
McDonaldization is the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are becoming more dominant in sectors of American society and the rest of the world. Its distinctive features are the efficiency, predictability, calculability and growing control over the people by means of non-human technology.
Efficiency is the optimal method to ensure the transition from one state to another. The smaller operations in the process are the better systems are McDonaldizied. As an example – instead of the traditional courtship people increasingly prefer online dating, because it is faster and easier.
Predictability is a guarantee that all products and services are the same at any time and in any place. Coming to any part of the globe, people expect the same product in a local McDonald’s as in a McDonald’s close to home.
Calculability means an emphasis on quantitative aspects of products sold (serving size, cost) and services (the time required to produce something). Here the emphasis lies on quantitative indicators. The example is a pizza delivery speed, as it affects the quality of the food. The downside is fatal accidents involving young Pizza Man.
Finally, the control over the people using nonhuman technologies is shown by the example of control over customers in McDonald’s, customers are given the prompts, e.g., they see garbage cans, especially at the output. At first glance, these principles are so self-evident that it is not impossible to notice them. Striving for maximum efficiency, one obviously has to count his/her efforts, trying to act in a predictable manner and implemented in this regard, the necessary control. A closer look allows seeing a more complex picture here.
For example, the principle of calculability obviously requires really accurate calculation from those who take it on board, which in turn means that: 1) it must be calculated, which also allows the other three principle to be expressed quantitatively (relative to time and place, etc.); 2) anything that is not amenable to precise calculation (and it may be very important things), should be discarded, thus remaining outside the planning; 3) because the payment took place, then it should be a guide to action for strict compliance; 4) that, in turn, implies hierarchical organization of action, when the initiative belongs to those who are ‘above’, and the other should play the role of an obedient executor (Ritzer, 2007).
More details on the example of this are as follows. Efficiency is the possibility of the best way to organize one’s way from hunger to satiety: for example, get a meal without leaving the machine. Calculability means an emphasis on quantitative aspects of products sold (serving size, cost) and services (the time required to produce something). Predictability is expressed in the assurance that all products and services are the same at any time and in any place. New York’s Egg McMuffin will be in all respects identical to that served in Chicago or Los Angeles. Also eaten in the next week or next year will be identical ingested today. Control is appended to all the people who enter the world of McDonald’s. The same applies to people who work in such structures. They are taught to produce a limited number of operations exactly as it should. This control is enhanced by the technologies used while the organization controls personnel -managers and inspectors are strict enough to personnel.
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Taken together, the four factors of success of fast food are the basis of the model of McDonaldization as a social phenomenon. All these factors meet the requirements of the current time, which is marked by a sharp acceleration of the rhythm of life. Therefore, McDonaldization has affected many areas of life. The bottom of which is education. American education is also built according to this model (Ritzer, 2007).
With regard to education, efficiency by the above-discussed meaning may be regarded as its availability at any point in space at any time. Predictability lies in the comparability of degrees and overall standardization of educational criteria, methodologies, convertibility of diplomas. Calculability means that the education is now decomposed into easily calculable educational services of more uniform quality. Control is expressed in that all the teachers and professors act as expected, being focused on single tests, and students know those, as expected; it is easy to check and calculate using automated control systems. However, each of these success factors has its negative side, far outweigh the positive one.
Thus, the race for efficiency turns to acceleration of the educational process. In the universities evaluation of the students’ knowledge passes through computers in seconds. With it any assistant can handle. Professors only have to change questions in the test one time in the semester, but this is by maximum facilitated for them as well. Publishers provide teachers with textbooks, which already include the tests with different types of questions and answers. To avoid republishing questions, they can also be found on computer disks.
Another achievement of academic life is that students can purchase the lecture notes written by instructors, assistants and other first-class students for a nominal fee. Students are free to indulge in the more valuable work, such as browsing academic journals in libraries. Finally, the most striking achievement of academic efficiency, which indicates that the acceleration of education leads finally to its complete elimination, is an opportunity for students to buy almost finished coursework online, or even accelerated implementation and delivery.
McDonaldization is neither bad nor good. However, McDonaldizied education is not something for which people must optimistically modernize. Transformed to fast food standards education is changed into an ersatz education from the scope of intellectual production, which stupefies and standardizes people. Therefore, McDonalidization is being discussed. Humanity needs to standardize Mcdonaldization before it standardizes us.