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Unformatted text preview: creates standardized products. It increases the throughput. And it gives fast food companies
an enormous amount of power over their employees. “When management determines exactly how every task is to be done… and can impose
its own rules about pace, output, quality, and technique,” the sociologist Robin Leidner has noted, “[it] makes workers increasingly
interchangeable.” The management no longer depends upon the talents or skills of its workers — those things are built into the operating
system and machines. Jobs that have been “de-skilled” can be filled cheaply. The need to retain any individual worker is greatly reduced by
the ease with which he or she can be replaced.
Teenagers have long provided the fast food industry with the bulk of its workforce. The industry’S rapid growth coincided with the babyboom expansion of that age group. Teenagers were in many ways the ideal candidates for these low-paying jobs. Since most teenagers still
lived at home, they could afford to work for wages too low to support an adult, and until recently, their limited skills attracted...
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- Spring '08