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Rationalization And Mcdonaldization

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Rationalization and McDonaldization

Bureaucracy is the structure, and set of regulations in place to control activity, usually in large organizations and government. It is represented by standardized procedure (rule-following), formal division of powers, hierarchy, and relationships. In practice the interpretation and execution of policy can lead to informal influence.

Bureaucracy is a concept in sociology and political science referring to the way that the administrative execution and enforcement of legal rules are socially organized.

Four structural concepts are central to any definition of bureaucracy:

1. a well-defined division of administrative labor among persons and offices,

2. a personnel system with consistent patterns of recruitment and stable linear careers,

3. A hierarchy among offices, such that the authority and status are differentially distributed among actors.

4. Formal and informal networks that connect organizational actors to one another through flows of information and patterns of cooperation. Wikipedia. (2008) sociological concepts. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from

Max Weber (1913/1947) viewed bureaucracies as such a powerful form of social organization that he predicted they would come to dominate social life. He called this process “The Rationalization of Society”, meaning that bureaucracies, with their rules, regulations, and emphasis on results would increasingly govern our lives.

Rationalization of society refers to creating and using unconventional systems that fallow a set of rule and regulations for organizing and controlling jobs instead of depending conservative

Knowledge and individual cleverness it depended on writing polices by professionals.

Examples of every day rationalization include governments, armed forces, corporations, hospitals, courts, and schools.

As this insidious rationalization has developed into our lives, George Ritzer a great sociologist who had built on Max Weber’s ideas in the past called this “McDonaldization”, which refers to the spread of fast food organizational practices to more and more aspects of our lives.

Sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1995). He describes it as the process by which a society takes on the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a concept of rationalization, or moving from traditional to rational modes of thought, and scientific management. (Ritzer, 2004:553).

Ritzer highlighted four primary components of McDonaldization:

1. Efficiency - it is the fastest way to get from being hungry to being full. Efficiency in McDonaldization means that every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.

2. Calculability- McDonaldization developed the notion that quantity equals quality, and that a large amount of product delivered to the customer in a short amount of time is the same as a high quality product.

3. Predictability - standardized and uniform services. "Predictability" means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization.

4. Control - standardized and uniform employees, replacement of human by non-human technologies.

Many other aspects of our lives have been organized in accordance with these components such as: travel, education, medicine, shopping and banking.

With these four processes, a strategy which is rational within a narrow scope can lead to outcomes that are harmful or irrational. The process of McDonaldization can be summarized as the way in which "the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world.” (Ritzer, 1993:1).

These components of bureaucracies are controlling our society and are also being passed on to other nations. In addition, it is eliminating questions and work that cannot be answered or fitted into the work-routine that the system operates on. “Weber stated” Such eliminations create irrationalities that can have our lives locked in an iron cage of irrationality that can harm our society for many years to come, not to mention it already had.

Even thought Bureaucracy is what controls the work place, it must be eliminated due to the harmful irrationalities it is originating that increases the policies that seem designed solely for the benefit of the organization, the large amounts of unhealthy stress it puts on both the employee and the customer, and the practices that tend to grow constantly and continue to be followed strictly.

Corporations in the United States



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