Pop Culture Definition Essay: The McDonaldization of Society


According to American sociologist George Ritzer, “McDonaldization” is defined as “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” (Ritzer 7). It is considered as a sociological phenomenon where people involved are characterized as performing similar activities like the iconic food chain. This includes efficiency in services but with more concern on quantity over superior quality. It also involves predictability of product consumption and availability over time. And lastly, it includes nonhuman control through technology to ensure products’ accuracy with regards to color, shape, and size. These four principles of McDonaldization have propagated numerous fields in society, making it a standardized model to follow when providing services.

Throughout time, McDonaldization has made its expansion to the rest of the world, touching more fields such as medicine. In 2015, an article by E. Ray Dorsey and George Ritzer tackled the worrisome plight of medical services being “McDonalized.” They explained that as medical services are being driven by the concept of McDonaldization, medical practitioners are becoming less emphatic. Hence, “McDonaldization dehumanizes a very human relationship” (Ritzer & Miles 3). Evidently, the physician-patient relationship tends to be more casual. It only has value when severe medical attention is necessary. At some point, personal interactions are set aside as questionnaires are now answered or available online.

This sociological concept is relevant in today’s digital age. With social media as part of people’s daily routine, interactions are generally efficient in meeting expectations swifter, preferences are more calculated and predictable with the help of social media marketing tools, and brands’ services are more responsive online, such as with online shopping, bill payment, and appointment schedules. Inevitably, the world is quickly turning into a giant McDonald’s enterprise.

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