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The McDonaldization of Society

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The McDonaldization of Society

The McDonald-eyes of Society
The McDonaldization of Society is a metaphorical example of the rationalization of society. The characteristics of a society that is rationalized include progress towards efficiency, predictability, calculability, and replacing nonhuman technology. This leads to greater control within society.

Rationalization of a society leads to a great deal of emphasis on finding the best or optimum means to an given end. Efficiently organizing food production leads to the ability for people to easily access food at home, in a restaurant or in their cars.


Rationalization of society, characterized by McDonaldization, relies heavily on predictability. We want to ensure predictability from one place to another, and people want to know what to expect, without any surprises.


Calculability refers to the fact that modern rational societies have moved towards the mentality of quantity over quality. Being able to calculate uniformity is important for companies like McDonald's.

Substitution with Nonhuman Technology
Robot replacing Human

Societies that are rationalized move towards substitution with nonhuman technology because of the limitations people present. People have the capacity to think and act in unanticipated ways. Conversely, nonhuman technology is more efficient, predictable, more calculable and doesn't act in unforeseen ways.


Control is another important aspect of rationalizing society, or the McDonaldization of society. Rational systems are oriented towards control, especially over the uncertainties of life, like other people. This explains managers controlling production by being in charge of employees.


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