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Lecture Nine McDonaldization & Rationality. Globalization and Social Life In the post-industrial period of globalization we are much more interdependent.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture Nine McDonaldization & Rationality. Globalization and Social Life In the post-industrial period of globalization we are much more interdependent."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture Nine McDonaldization & Rationality

2 Globalization and Social Life In the post-industrial period of globalization we are much more interdependent than ever before. Most of our daily requirements – food, work, clothing, etc – are supplied by people we never meet working in organization we know little about  This requires organizations (secondary groups) that can coordinate the resources and activities needed to keep society and our daily lives running smoothly  How these organizations are organized greatly affects how we live our lives and interact with those around us

3 The Modern Organization: Rationally Organized Most of the organizations we depend on today – government, corporations, schools, etc - are organized rationally  Sociologists call these types of organizations “bureaucracies” Rationalization is the process by which thought and action are no longer rooted in emotion, tradition, but become rooted in ‘value-rational’ thought and action

4 Thinking Rationally Rationalization is both a way of thinking and a way of organizing and coordinating human activities and the goods they produce To think and act rationally is to find the most efficient means to achieve a goal. Example: How do we interact with cows?

5 Cows: Hindus vs. Americans

6 Beyond Rationality? Sociologist George Ritzer argues that we have moved to an even great level of rationality, which is the McDonaldization of society, whereby the “process by which the principles of the fast food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of society” This new type of rational organization is based on the principles of:  Efficiency  Quantification  Predictability  Non-human Technology

7 Efficiency Efficiency is the choosing the fastest means to an end, with the least amount of cost or effort The idea of efficiency is specific to the interests of the industry or business, but is typically advertised as a benefit to the customer  Examples: the drive-up window, self-serve gasoline, ATM's, The customer often ends up doing the work that previously was done for them.  We end up spending more time, being forced to learn new technologies, remember more numbers, and often pay higher prices

8 Quantification & Calculation Quantification “involves an emphasis on things that can be calculated, counted, quantified. Quantification refers to a tendency to emphasize quantity rather than quality. This leads to a sense that quality is equal to certain, usually (but not always) large quantities of things."  Examples of this element include: the "Big Mac," the Whopper," "Big Gulp," Wendy's "Biggie Meals"

9 Predictability Predictability refers to the attempt to structure our environment so that surprise and difference do not encroach upon our sensibilities. Rational people need to know what to expect  They want to be sure that the fun, satisfaction, taste, and benefits they received last week in Cincinnati will be repeated next week in San Diego. A Big Mac is a Big Mac is a Big Mac

10 Non-human Technology Non-human Technology: Everything is pre- packaged, pre-measured, automatically controlled. The human employee is not required to think, just follow the instructions and push a button now and then  "The next step in this development is to have the customer do the scanning,..." What this means is that the skills and capabilities of the human actor are quickly becoming things of the past. Who we are and how we interact is becoming defined by our dependence upon and subordination to the machine

11 “Iron Cage of Rationality” Max Weber feared that a rationally organized society can become a cage in which we are trapped and our basic humanity denied As society becomes more rational, people are locked into a series of rational systems, only able to move from one system to another  from rationalized educational institutions, to rationalized workplaces, to rationalized recreational settings, to rationalized homes

12 Disenchantment of the World McDonaldization at large works to eliminate genuine human interaction, because interactions are unpredictable and waste time  How do you think McDonalization affects our social connections?  Social Capital? As our interactions are structured by rational environments, there is a break down in genuine and spontaneous human interaction

13 Rationality can lead to Irrationality Ritzer argues that extreme rationality or McDonaldization can lead to irrational outcomes "Most specifically, irrationality means that rational systems are unreasonable systems. By that I mean that they deny the basic humanity, the human reason, of the people who work within or are served by them." – George Ritzer

14 Irrationality of Fast Food The rational organization of the Fast Food provides many conveniences today. Fast food is cheap, fast, and easy. However, it also produces many irrationalities in our society:  The food we eat is often less nourishing, loaded with stabilizers and flavor enhancers, fats, salt and sugar. This contributes to the health problems of our society, such a skyrocketing rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  The packaging used in fast food industry pollutes the environment.  Microwavable foods and fast-food restaurants allow us to eat what we want, when we want it. The ritual of cooking, eating together, and sharing is fading from the American family.

15 The Rational Organization of Our Daily Lives As we grow more interdependent with globalization, we can examine the ways in which most of the organizations that play a central role in our daily lives are becoming McDonaldized and the impacts this has on our social connections and social relationships with others As we grow more organizationally connected are we becoming less socially connected?

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