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Dealing with McDonaldized Companies

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The convenience and cost-effectiveness of McDonaldization, 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, slowly and steadily happened that it has taken time for its adverse effects to sink in into our consciousness. Nevertheless, a conscious and studied effort must be undertaken to consider the “irrational” implications of a supposedly rational logic.   Since McDonaldization encompasses too many industries and too many facets of human endeavors, then maybe we should first determine how people react to it as a concept.

            Dealing with the issues of McDonaldization can only be dealt with using a McDonaldized approach – examining the issues at hand and breaking them down into smaller issues and rationally assessing them according to their effect on people in particular and on society in general. This is also true with  www.expedia.com , one of the world’s leading online travel companies.  Expedia provides travelers with the ability to research, plan, and book their comprehensive travel needs using Expedia-branded Web sites featuring airline ticket sales, hotel reservations, car rental, cruises, and many other services from a broad selection of partners.

                        George Ritzer, author of the book “McDonaldization of Society,” also thinks that peoples’ attitude about McDonald­ization will determine how they cope with it as it expands and tightens its influence over society.  An “iron cage” for some may be a “velvet cage” for others, a world that represents their standard of good taste and high quality and, therefore, they can think of nothing better than an increas­ingly rationalized world.  Expedia represents a dotcom where travel choices and options are laid down rationally, from their choices of airlines, schedules, and seat class to other travel nuances such as hotels and car rentals.  For them, www.expedia.com, a certified McDonaldized organization, is not a threat, but a peek at Nirvana.  According to Ritzer, these people will do nothing about McDonaldization because they like and accept it.

Some other people recognize the threats of McDonaldization, but feel its advantages in terms of the system’s speed, efficiency, predictability and objectivity.  These are the people who use their online computers to pay their bills, source tickets for a concert, and make airline seat reservations at www.expedia.com for business or leisure trips, local and abroad.   In Ritzer’s words, for them bureaucracy and rationality construct a “rub­ber cage” that they can enter into and escape from at will.  In their heart of hearts, these same people are likely to be the type to go on mountain climbing, outdoor camping, fishing expedition, and other nature-tripping activities.

Finally, there are those who fear and loathe McDonaldization and regard it in the same manner as philosopher Max Weber do — an “iron cage.”  They prefer going through the trouble of making telephone calls and doing an extra trip to a ticketing office to discuss their travel plans, booking a flight with matching glossy plane tickets, and arranging with relatives about transportation and accommodation.  They do not know about the services provided by www.expedia.com and they do not care.  They share the dark and cold outlook of philosopher Max Weber, and, like Weber, they see a grim future for themselves in a robotic society spawned by a McDonaldized society.

Dotcom companies, like expedia, have extended the use of their McDonaldized system beyond production to include a marketing component that offers limitless possibilities.  More than providing the public with an option to book their plane tickets in the comfort of home or own office, expedia can be accessed by a limitless number of people around the world, segmented according to age, social status, gender, etc.  If need be, expedia can expand the segmentation to include a choice between McDonaldized or not for “nothing is safe from McDonaldization as long as there are material interests that push it and stand to benefit from its expansion.”

References

Expedia. 2007.  About Expedia.  http://www.expedia.com/daily/service/about.asp?rfrr=-950

            Keel, Robert. 2006. The McDonaldization of Society. http://www.umsl.edu/~rkeel/010/mcdonsoc.html

Steijn, A. J. and De Witte, M. C. 2000.  McDonaldization:  An American Menace in the Dutch Labor Market?

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