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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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McDonaldization

CHIH-CHIN CHEN and GEORGE RITZER

University of Maryland, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs167

McDonaldization is George Ritzer's (2013) modern theoretical adaptation of Max Weber's theory on rationalization. Where Weber uses bureaucracy as the model for the process of rationalization, Ritzer uses the fast-food restaurant, especially McDonald's, as the contemporary paradigm of the process. He defines McDonaldization as “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 of the rest of the world” (Ritzer 2013, 1).

The principles are efficiency, defined as the optimum method of getting from one point to another; calculability, which designates an emphasis on the quantitative aspects of products and services such as size, price, and speed; predictability, or the assurance that products, services, and settings will be very similar, if not entirely identical, over time and in all locales; and control, the power exerted over both customers and employees of McDonaldized settings.

These four principles have in various ways and forms found their way into most organizations and institutions in American society, as well as into many other parts of the world. This makes McDonaldization a major aspect of, and force in, the process of globalization. It is a key example of what Ritzer (2007) calls “the globalization of nothing.”

Ritzer's critique of McDonaldization is to be found not in ...

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