The McDonaldizatio of Chinese CateringBusiness in the Context of Globalization
There is a lot of interdependence populations, cultures and economies and this is mostly brought about by the trade in services and goods across borders, information, people, the flow in investment, technology, services and goods. This is known as globalization. There are many different aspects of these and certain concepts illustrate how these happens such as Westernization. Westernization occurs where the European culture is adopted and their influence if acepted among different cuktures in entertainment, politics, clothing, architecture, economics, values, education, and lifestyle priorities. When all this happens, localization is apparent and by design the dfferent aspects of westernization is localized and this means that the products become adaptable to the culture of the area they are in. McDonaldization is a good example of this where the company has been able to inflitrate over 100 counries and it operates over 31, 000 branches. The company however develops menus that are adaptable to the various tastes and custimes for it to be accepted well. InThe Mcdonaldization of Society (1983), the term McDonaldization has been coined and used by sociologist George Ritzer to drive the conceptual idea of the cultural industry. According to Ritzer (1983), McDonaldization is a kind of rationalization in work, production, and consumption. Typically, rationalization is the behavior of replacement of values, traditions, and emotions through the rational, justified and calculated explanation to make a concept more tolerable and admirable. In this case, the concept of fast foods is seen by Ritzer(1992) as a more represented paradigm in contemporary society. Therefore, based on Ritzer's work and other research, this paper intends to showcase the influence of McDonaldization in China and the growth and development until it has been abl to influence the society.
According to Ritzer (1983), McDonaldization is a phenomenon that occurs when there are adaptions of similar characteristics typical in fast-food chains in society, organizations, and institutions. In his book, Ritzeranalyses particular ways in which the success of the American hamburger chain has impacted both economic and social life across the globe. He draws his empirical and tentative study based on Max Weber’s theory of rationalization to argue the concept of McDonaldization.
McDonaldization was seen as a success because after the development of McDonalds in 1955 the fast-food restaurant has grown to over 31,000 outlets in different parts of the world (Crossman, 2019). the concepts that were used in the developmnt of the industry moved to different restuarants and this were dominated with the chain mentality. This has seen that people no longer go to chains but the chains come to them. this means that they dominate every area with human population.
This has been adopted by many different industries such as learning institutions, child care centres, newspapers, bookstores, and toy stores and many other have followed. This process of McDonaldization has developed into many different areas in the world wide society. Every developing spin-off leads to the extending of the process. For instance with USA Today there has been a change in the news is seen and this has been constructed differently with press releases and PR managers.
McDonaldization is a phenomenon that is increasing consistently since the fast-food principles are operating in wide aspects of social settings such as workplaces, health care higher educations, etc (Zayani, 1997). With the aggressive economic interests as the primary contributor to McDonaldization, the attunement to technological changes, increased mobility, and expanding needs have played a significant role in accelerated structural changes.
As a western corporation, McDonald's has the cultural and economic power of the west to lead to global homogenization of both social and economic life in China. According to Nicholson (2015), McDonaldization affects our views, values, identities as well as social relationships. The ripple effects influence the fast-the food industry not only in America but also in other nations across the globe such as China. The outcome has led to the establishment and adaptation of McDonalds’s principles in industrial operations which are dominating more sectors of the society. According to Ritzer, Mcdonaldization had a significant impact on society through health, work, education, dieting, travel and more aspects of social life. As a result, the process of McDonaldization can be said to be the domination of the principles of fast-food restaurants in wide sectors of American society and that of China. Therefore, since McDonaldization is a comparison with society domination, there is a critique to evaluate its impact on society.
Beijing can be classified as one of the food capitals in the world with about 10,000 restuarants that serve cuisines from all over the world. this has however been over talen by the western kind of meals from the burgers to the french fries that have had a lot of effect on the business and the cuisine of the Beijing society (Guenette, 2008).
Food in China is serious business that has grown mostly because the homes there are too small to entertain guest making eating out a very popular affair of the society having the wealth of flavours and choice that are readily available in the city (Guenette, 2008). One would have thought that with the limited variety in the kind of french fries and burgers that the western food would have been a flop. However after the first McDonalds opened in January 1975 there has been about 160 openings of the restaurant and the giant now employs about 900 people from the country.
The food giant McDonalds in China tranformed from an exotic American culture outpost to an ordinary outlet that is used by the ordinary people. There were a few people that lived in Beijingat the time and with the introduction of McDonalds there was a small development of social consciousness (Guenette, 2008). There were a lot of problems with ques with the development of the company. this forced the company to employ women that would ensure people queued for their turn. This then led to the development of the middle class cuture in the country (Guenette, 2008).
There are many objections however from the development of McDonalds and that it undermines the culture and local cuisines. McDonalds has ensured similarities in many different places. It leads to homogenization (Guenette, 2008). The discrimination stems from the protestors who want to stop the company from using genetically modified ingredients and the oppression of the workers.
Despite the protests the company continually growns and has become a role model for the similar companies that sell fast foods specific to China. McDonalds provides inspiration in the use of labour and the self-service model of work (Guenette, 2008). The aim is to produce a wide and constantly changing menu that has a connsistent quality and has mass production in a central location. If the company models McDonalds in terms of operation there can be a lot of labour saved and this may reduce the difference between different outlets (Guenette, 2008).
The human identity and the interaction was transformed by the mcdonaldization. The central theme in the analysis used by Weber(1964) is where the process of rationalization is seen through the modern society. This is where the modes of thinking that had been used over the years have been replaced by means analysis efficiency and social control. The major means f the development of this process is the development of a large and a formal organization that is characterized by a concern for technical competence, impersonality, regulations and written rules, properly established division of labor, and an authority structure that is hierachichal.
Critique and Argument on McDonaldization
There are several arguments and critics concerned with the consequences and the benefits of McDonaldization in the society. Ritzer(1993)argues that the narrow focus on rationality is a mean that produces irrationality in operations. Typically, the scholar observes that irrationality is an outcome of unreasonable systems that deny people the basic aspect of humanity. With the rigid adherence to organizational rules and policies, it is evident that human capacity for reasons is not all present in the experience. For employees, the process is popularly known as dehumanization since McDonald’s does not require highly skilled expertise to carry out the production and service to customers (Jurgenson, 2010).
Focusing on the four principles has led to dehumanization. Workers in such situations engage in a highly focused, repetitive routine that limits creativity amongst the taskforce. Typically, the routine tasks are quickly and easily taught henceforth making it easier to replace workers. According to Ritzer, McDonaldization has eliminated the need for skilled workers and as a result, there is a devaluation of workers labor and the bargaining power. For instance, without employees' bargaining power due to ease replacement, sociologist argues that worker’s rights and wages across the world are reducing. This is exactly the reason why taskforce in firms such as Walmart, Uber, and McDonald's are always on strike for a better living wage. Similarly, workers in the production of iPhones and iPads face similar concerns due to McDonaldization that is catching with the society and other organizations in general.
With that said, it is essential to note that McDonaldization has impacted customers too. In most economic sectors such as in stores and restaurants, customers are engaged in the labor that was previously covered by employees. By streamlining the food preparing process and simplified menus, McDonald's has been able to promote efficiency in its production. More so, the efficiency is promoted by shifting tasks to consumers through self-service, self-ordering, uncomfortable seats to enhance customer flow and drive-through service windows. Today, firms are improving efficiency and control through its production processes. The self-service in McDonald's or the self-assembly labor in IKEA furniture or picking and checking oneself at the grocery are kind of McDonaldization characteristics of free customer labor in work, production and consumption. With efficiency, business operations tend to be faster hence reducing waiting time to be served. This promotes customer satisfaction.
In other areas of life, sociologists have observed principles of McDonaldization spreading in media and education. It is more shocking that American nationwide newspaper is perfected in the presentation of standardized and easily acceptable news. According to Ritzer, the USA gives its readers what they want through recognizable layout, shorter pieces of work which bring us to the standardized and absolute efficiency just like in McDonald's. In order to sell, newspapers as well as media in general, present measured information to enhance economic gains. For instance, there is a need for quantified measures such as rating to dictate what will be shown on tv or not.
Similarly, the standardization of McDonaldization can be expressed in public libraries. According toManley (1981), the public librarians have adopted the McDonald’s practices in its registration system. For instance, the author indicates that a voucher for a free hamburger is awarded to a library registered user which shows admiration of librarian practices such as cost-effective and need of serving wide customers which are adequately covered in the four dimensions of McDonald.
McDonaldization has a lot of sneaky things one of them is where consumers are used as unpaid employees and this is where employees do things that are supposed to be done by the restaurants such as where the consumers carry their own trash and where they are used for the services that they are to use new people.
There are several advantages that come with McDonaldization. These advantages have ensured the development and the sustenance of McDonaldization in China. The availability of services and goods has been increased and a larger part of the population can to be reached this is because they no longer depend on geographic location or time. There is increased convenience in the acquisition of food. The quality of services and goods has been evened due to the increased competition. Due to the controlled and regulated system it has become safer to do things suchs as bank, diet and many other things that were difficult to do. There is equality among societies and there is reduced discrimination. Furthermore similarity in operations ensures the easy diffusion of innovations and the products of a single culture can be diffused easily t products of other culture.
In conclusion, McDonald's had a significant homogenous effect of social culture in the United States. Its principles have been used widely in global society such as in libraries, schools, leisure etc. In the sectors identified the four principles: efficiency, control, predictability, and calculability have become part of social and economic activities. Although Ritzer has been criticized for being so pessimistic and negative towards McDonaldization, it is important to note that he challenges us to consider values, quality, and practices that are desirable in our day to day lives. Therefore, as McDonalds globalize, it is essential for the global community to embrace good values such as quality over quantity in an attempt to control the drawbacks in the McDonaldization process.
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