One of the most influential theories purposed to precisely describe this society is the McDonaldization theory developed by George Ritzer in 1993 (Ritzer 1). Generally, the theory demonstrates from 5 perspectives how “effective” is the working process organized in enterprises these days. First and foremost, the concept of “Efficiency” represents the notion that the contemporary world is concentrated only on how effectively the entity leads its activity. In a case with Amazon, which is also a public company that publishes reports for stockholders, where the company’s representative describes how efficient the company’s operating activity is, what are the returns on equity, assets, and invested capital.
Secondly, predictability is the theory about how the customers highly value the experience of using some service or buying some products that they are already familiar with. As a result, McDonald’s, which usually associates with relatively cheap and fast-prepared food, influences people to buy the same “products” multiple times. This is one of the most important factors in Amazon’s case since the customers appreciate the time and the quality-of-service Amazon provides.
The third principle is calculability, which put the quantity of product higher than its quality. This influences customers to buy more and be indifferent to the quality of the food eaten. By generating more sales rather than providing a higher value of interaction with the company, Amazon successfully impacted the modern “consumer” society. As a result, people are concentrated on what they possess rather than what it brings to them. The fourth factor, non-human technology, is an outcome of dividing and over-specializing the individual’s responsibility during the operating process. For instance, when the product is not furnished after six months of storage in Amazon stock, the robot automatically sends it to elimination, even if someone could buy it one day later (Amazon). Last but not least, total control of the working process forces people to act like robots without permission to increase the process effectiveness by experimenting on the working place in a creative atmosphere.
For example, in Amazon, people are forced to execute the same type of individually unimportant job. This process negatively impacts the employee’s satisfaction with the workplace, which could seriously decrease its working capacity in the future when doing some other type of work (Sainato). The most advantageous aspects of McDonaldization observed in Amazon’s business model are calculability and non-human technology, which significantly impact the company’s positive performance in the long-term perspective. This is due to the costs of goods sold (COGS) decrease and, at the same time, sales increase, which consistently enlarge gross profit year-to-year. On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage of the new trend for Amazon is the loss of worker’s motivation and the quality of the products placed on the market. Moreover, by implementing the McDonaldization concept, Amazon generates profit much more effectively, and consumers lose relatively less when it comes to cost-effective comparison. From the irrationality of rationality perspective, this negatively impacts the total outcome since decreasing product quality distracts rich people from using e-commerce services.
Finally, these days, McDonaldization is consistently popularized in corporate governance approaches so that the society will be negatively influenced by “over effectiveness” in those places where it is not applicable. In addition, Weber’s “Iron cage” principle naturally demonstrates the operational effectiveness of an “organized” working process so that the “bureaucracy” in manufacturing or service delivery is always the most effective way to lead the business (Ross 15). However, when analyzing McDonaldization from Marx’s alienation principle, the excessive specification of personal responsibility extremely influences the individual distinction of the product they manufacture or deliver (Silver 84). As a result, people feel much less motivated to do socially unimportant work, so that in the long-term perspective, labor conflicts are inevitable. Personally, I am significantly affected by the McDonaldization phenomenon since I am much more productive in the study analysis, but my life became less emotional and “vital,” which forced me to balance my life daily.
Amazon. “How to Sell on Amazon | Become an Amazon Seller – Amazon.” Amazon.Com, Amazon.
Ritzer, George. The McDonaldization of Society. 1st ed., Thousand Oaks, Canada, SAGE Publications, 2013.
Ross, Catherine. The Iron Cage. Abingdon, United Kingdom, Taylor & Francis, 2017.
Sainato, Michael. “‘I’m Not a Robot’: Amazon Workers Condemn Unsafe, Grueling Conditions at Warehouse.” The Guardian, 2020.
Silver, Daniel. “Alienation in a Four Factor World.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, vol. 49, no. 1, 2018, pp. 84–105. Crossref.