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Ritzers Concept of Control by Non- Human Technologies


In his book “The McDonaldization of the society,” Ritzer incorporates concepts from management, sociology and economics so as to offer a deep understanding of the modern society. McDonaldization is described as the process by which standards of fast- food restaurant are about to control most sectors of the American society and the entire world as well. Wal- Mart, Home Depot, Jiffy Lube and Gap are examplesof companies, which want to be the McDonald’s of their industry. McDonald controls the entire world because half of the Company’s income emanates from overseas operations, which serves approximately fifty million consumers a day. Indeed, this fast food restaurant has become part of people’s culture (Yeganeh 1).

Ritzer’s definition of control by non- human technologies

According to Ritzer and Ryan (380), non- human technology control both workers and consumers. Individuals are the great source of unpredictability; uncertainty and inefficiency in any rational society. Therefore, employers are able to increase control through increased utilization of non- human technologies. For instance at McDonald’s, non- human technologies increases control over workers by ensuring that customers get exactly what they want whenever they place an order. In the modern society, everything is pre- measured, pre- packaged and controlled automatically. Employees are not required to think because they just adhere to instructions given and press a “button” most of the time so as to obtain the required results. Therefore, most creative employees especially in blue collar jobs are not always the ones who rise to the top.Ritzer further explains how United States’ airlines are controlled, and every minute of their operations must be accounted for. Most people think that pilots carry out very challenging tasks while on air. On the contrary, a pilot’s job has been McDonaldized by computers, which mostly control a plane between takeoff and landing (Cited in Yeganeh 8).

In a McDonaldized society, non- human technologies also controls consumers. For example, customers encounter a variety of structural restrictions and follow particular norms when they get inside a restaurant. The stated aspects are ways of controlling consumers at fast- food restaurants, so that they can act in accordance to the business will. Ritzer (16) further elaborates how non- human technologies affect operations in hospitals, supermarkets, homes and universities. In this case, they control consumers’ wants and needs. He reflects on birth and death and exemplifies how people’s lives are being McDonaldized. Hospitals guarantee live and healthy babies. Most people prefer to give birth at hospitals than at homes. In hospitals, health physicians carry out standardized steps in the delivery process. More so, people are able to reduce death rates through seeking medical attention, and this is offered by hospitals (Ritzer 16).

An area in life where an individual experiences control by non- human technologies

In the banking sector, Automatic Teller Machines exercise control because they determine the amount of money that ought to be withdrawn by customers every day. ATMs also determine the type of currency notes to be withdrawn, which can either be old or new. Most banks have withdrawal limits, and regardless of customer’s needs, the ATM cannot dispense beyond the set limit. In aIDition, the machines can seize a customer’s debit card especially if the password used is incorrect.

In conclusion, it is true that non- human technologies overly controls human activities. They have enhanced effectiveness, accuracy and speed of most tasks. However, they have reduced creativity especially in work places because an employee has to follow monotonous instructions so as to obtain the required results. Thus, McDonaldization is incorporated in the economic, social, political and cultural sectors of any nation.

Works Cited

Ritzer, George. The McDonaldization of Society 6. Los Angeles: Pine Forge, 2011.

Ritzer, George, and Ryan, Michael, J. The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology. Chi Chester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley- Blackwell, 2011.

Yeganeh, Hamid. The McDonaldization of the Society. 19 April, 2011. 5 June, 2014



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