Week 6 Macionis Plummer Groups Organizations - C06.QXD...

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6 GROUPS, ORGANISATIONS AND THE RISE OF THE NETWORK SOCIETY
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SIXTY YEARS AGO , the opening of a new restaurant in Pasadena, California, attracted little attention from the local community and went unnoticed by the world as a whole.Yet this seemingly insignificant small business, owned and operated by Mac and Dick McDonald, would eventually spark a revolution in the restaurant industry and provide an organisational model that would be copied by countless other businesses and even schools and churches. The basic formula the McDonald brothers put into place –‘fast food’ – was to serve food quickly and inexpensively to large numbers of people.They trained employees to perform highly specialised jobs, so that one person grilled hamburgers, while others ‘dressed’ them, made French fries, whipped up milkshakes, and presented the food to the customers in assembly-line fashion. As the years went by, the McDonald brothers prospered, and they moved their single restaurant from Pasadena to San Bernardino. It was there, in 1954, that events took an unexpected turn when Ray Kroc, a travelling blender and mixer merchant, paid a visit to the McDonalds. Kroc was fascinated by the brothers’ efficient system, and, almost immediately, he saw the potential for a greatly expanded system of fast-food restaurants. Initially, Kroc launched his plans in partnership with the McDonald brothers. Soon, however, he bought out their interests and set out on his own to become one of the greatest success stories of all time. Today, over 31,000 McDonald’s restaurants serve more than 52 million customers a day across 118 countries. One in 200 people across the world visit a McDonald’s daily. In the UK, more than 2.5 million people eat at a McDonald’s everyday. It is the best- known ‘brand’ in the world. It is also the biggest toy distributor, and 96 per cent of US children can identify Ronald McDonald by name … second only to Santa Claus! (McDonald’s Annual Report; http://www.mcdonalds.com) ) The disease which inflicts bureaucracy, and what they usually die from, is routine. J.S. Mill Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies. Honore de Balzac Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. Franz Kafka (Above) McDonald’s in Tokyo Source : © Iain Masterton/Alamy (Left) Evelyn Williams, Face to Face , 1994 (oil on canvas) Source : Face to Face, 1994 (oil on canvas) (pair of 173317),Williams, Evelyn (Contemporary Artist)/Private Collection,/The Bridgeman Art Library. See : http://www.evelynwilliams.com. Is this conformity or individuality? Q Social life in different kinds of social groups Living in bureaucracies and organisations Life as ‘McDonaldisation’ Life in an age of mobile phones and personal computers The changing experience of face-to-face life K E Y T H E M E S
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From a sociological point of view, the success of McDonald’s reveals much more than the popularity of hamburgers. As this chapter will explain, the larger importance of this story lies in the extent to which the
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