McDonaldization - Iron Cage - Rationality Christoforos Mitsios | November 21, 2016
Today’s globalized world, triggers constant changes in organizations, and employees have to make adjustment as far as their actions and thinking are concerned, seeking to secure their survival.
The McDonaldization of today’s societies, a neologism which was coined by sociologist George Ritzer in 1993, is embedded in a plethora of social activities and especially in working environments. Its four dimensions: efficiency, calculability, predictability, control, are of great importance as customers of McDonaldized organizations (from fast-food to educational courses) satisfy their needs and expectations without any surprises. This rationalization, did not appear on the spur of the moment, but is based on Weber’s work on bureaucracy and Taylor’s Scientific Management.
Such rational approaches were initially developed at a time when large scale organizations were replacing traditional small business and bureaucracy was the only way to manage organizations. However, rationality can easily become a liability as rationalized environment becomes cages for humans. The iron cage, a concept and not a physical structure of society, refers to the imprisonment of humanity by the ruled based social actions, the modernist perspective which embraces being and action with determinism (Watson, 2006: 40). As a result people become non-thinking entities following written orders in formal structures, leading to their dehumanization. Last, but not least, the homogenizing pressure which is created, makes the world less differentiated and complex.