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MacDonaldization and Marx’s Social Change Model


Social change is societal change in the aspects of the social institutions, structures, associations, and behavioral models. When these aspects change to a large extent and the changes are kept, social change is said to have taken place especially changes in the behavioral aspect. (Aron, 1967) The change or default from the generationally inherited philosophies there is likelihood of a social system change that brings about changes in the social arrangement. (Bilton, 2002)

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Social change can take place in the economic, social or the political fields of the community and is displayed in social development, globalization, economic advancement and democracy within political systems. These changes may involve changes in ideology, revolutions and model change. (Hadden, 1997) The models of social change include the Daoist, Kuhnian, Heraclitan, and the Hegelian model. The means of putting social change into practice include community organization, protest and revolt, mass practice/ action, political involvement, and advocacy. (Miles, 2001)

Karl Marx argues that social change in production and economic structure is initiated by the struggle to fulfill needs from the situation of living on disaster encounter. In this stage there is only basic need provision but with time means of increasing production are devised, for example the grouping together of smaller groups to support an exploitative economy and further the development of machines. (Smith, 2001) In each stage there is perpetuated conflict of improving production for the leading group and improving welfare and life for the working group hence growing tension. The change results majorly from the willful strive of individuals due to the struggle of reducing costs of production and increasing the returns of labor/Market drive. The exploited get fed up with exploitation and dynamically attempt to overturn the system that results to social change. (Carver, 1982)

McDonaldization is the take-up of the characteristics of a fast-food place by the society through rationalization of traditional ideologies, modes of management and thinking. It emphasizes on the take up of efficiency where there is choice of the fastest and simplest mode of production to minimize time and resources used; the control of production to more machine driven modes of production and standardizing the laborers. (Larney, 2009) Calculative approach of producing a lot in a short time using the fastest method thus lowering the cost and increasing the returns and not the quality of produce. The predictability approach of making the processes are made routine, repetitive, uniform and the outcome predictable no matter the place of purchase or receiving the services. (Ritzer, 1993)

The ideas of McDonaldization are in support of Marx’s model of social change as it emphasizes on increasing of production that is also the major aspect of Marx’s model.

The exploitative aspect is further perpetuated as there is production of lower quality products so as to reduce the time and cost of production thus increasing the level of returns. The model focuses on grouping of production groups to unify the exploitative aspect and in McDonaldization ideas there is McDonaldization of the organizations so as to unify the low qualities of produce and services across the providers. (Ritzer, 1998)

Marx’s model focuses on mechanization of production which is also a major component of McDoldanization. In Marx’s model there is tension of the laborers with the owners of means of production that is also the case with McDonaldization as there is the attempt of reducing the costs of production thus wages and further with the receivers of the low quality produce and services. The resultant revolt to change the system of exploitation. In Marx’s model and the question of the worth of the consumers’ money in contrast to the poor quality goods and services perpetuates tension that leads to social change. (Beetham, 1985)

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It can be argued that McDonaldization is majorly in support of Marx’s ideas of social change and further seeks to improve the situation Marx’s model perpetuates to cause social change. It can generally be referred to as being a more rational model of Marx’s ideas of Social change and the capitalist economy as it is driving at the same end result.


Aron, R, 1967. Main Currents in Sociological Thought Vol.2, Penguin.

Beetham, D, 1985. Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics, Polity.

Bilton, T et al, 2002. Introductory Sociology, 4th Ed., Palgrave.

Carver, T, 1982. Marx’s Social Theory, Oxford University.Press.

Hadden, R, 1997. Sociological Theory: an introduction to the classical tradition, Broadview Press.

Larney T, 2009, The McDonaldization of information, Web.

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Miles, S, 2001.Social Theory in the Real World, Sage, Ch.6.

Ritzer, G, 1993.The McDonaldization of Society, Pine Forge Press.

Ritzer, G, 1998. The McDonaldization Thesis, Sage.

Smith J, 2001. Karl Marx. Web. 

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