the impact of bureaucratization and mcdonaldization on everyday life

the impact of bureaucratization and mcdonaldization on everyday life
Paper details:
One of the major criticisms of complex contemporary society is its sometimes dehumanizing way of
life. To see this consequence of bureaucratization firsthand, visit two fast­food restaurants close to your home
(where you currently live). Some examples of fast­foot restaurants include Taco Bell,
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut, and the paradigmatic McDonald’s.
Observe the overall structure of the establishment. How is the work area situated with regard to the customer
area? Are the cooking facilities hidden from public view? Note the number of employees and
The gender and age characteristics of the staff. Observe the way the customers are “processed” or
“served”. Can you detect a “script” that the employees follow? How do they address customers? How are orders
filled? Is there any room for “ad­libbing” or for exercising discretionary judgment/choice?
Do the clients have significant choices? Does the worker seem to be responsible for a single task
(for example, grilling, begging food, operating the cash register, cleaning tables, etc.)?
Do male employees seem to ÕÉ≠†Њ†work in areas different from female employees? Is there an apparent
hierarchy among the workers? What is the manager’s role? Are you able to detect the ways in which ordinary
workers might “resist” the routine (by breaking the group’s norms, sabotage, labor­management conflicts)?
Compare your findings across the two different restaurants you observed. How much similarity in
routine is there? Are there common procedures characteristic of all fast­food restaurants, or does each
restaurant have a unique way of running? How do things such as diversity and creativity fit into the procedures for
workers and for customers? Is food prepared to meet the requirements of the customers?
Once you have observed two fast­food restaurants, go to some other retail business in your area.
(The business should not be a fast­food restaurant/business.) What are the similarities (if any) or
differences (if any) in the way this business operates and the way the fast­food restaurants function?
Discuss/analyze how the systems employed in these businesses maximize efficiency at the cost of
dehumanizing the people involved­­ both workers and customers. Draw on your reading of the
textbook, the class “discussion”/lectures to discuss the features of McDonaldization and bureaucracies manifested
in the fast­food restaurants.
Can you think of other areas of social life that are influenced by the principles, norms and rules of
bureaucratization and McDonaldization? How do these affect your life?

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