The Ethnographic Set Of Mcdonalds Cultural Studies Essay

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This essay would focus on the topic of globalization taking along several other factors with it. More and more, it is obvious that the globalization is integrated in almost all the businesses of the world. Every market in some way or the other is following the principles of globalization. McDonalds is a chain of restaurants working in collaboration to deliver their customers with the best product. It also follows the concepts of globalization. This essay will discuss an ethnographic study at McDonalds as it confirms or denies the claims made about globalization.

The ethnographic study is set in McDonalds' shop, Leeds; on the afternoon of Monday 17th January 2011. From away I could observe the huge logo of McDonalds. I stood at the entrance and stared at the shop for few seconds. The shop was far more elegant than the average McDonald's. The interior looked very contemporary with posh chairs, tables, black art deco fixtures, beautiful paintings and attractive lights and draperies. Also, outside were window boxed filled with flowers or greenery. I could hear some relaxing music. At first glance, I noticed that customers were people with different age groups, genders, ethnic classes, social classes and cultural backgrounds. The language which was more spoken was English. Without thinking, I was moving towards the counter, I faced the girl behind the counter; she was wearing a red t-shirt with a cap and a hut. She seemed to be in a rush to handle the orders. Despite that, she was friendly and with a smile on the face to welcome the customers. The most common food they offered which was popular in the customers involved hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, French Fries, shakes, nuggets, rice and ice creams. After I paid and took my order, I looked around and there was an empty table in the corner. The tables and the floor were cleaned as soon as a customer leaves. I noticed a small group of young boys and girls entering in the McDonalds' shop and they were all different nationalities (Greek, German, Nigerian, Italian), maybe there were students to the local university. They ordered their meal and sat near to my table. They were too loud and started talking about their new-year plans. Next to them, an English family of four enjoyed their meal. Children were more likely to opt for kids' meals like happy meals which include toys for the children that fascinate them. Families go for family meals and deals which provide cheaper rates for them. On the other side of McDonalds' shop, there were people who were reading magazines, newspaper and books. In the entrance, a Chinese couple entered, they seemed like tourists as they had a map and a camera in their hand. The division of labour as I observed comprised of more female staff than male. The reason behind such distribution of labour may be the timings that I chose to observe. The day timings may be more of comfort for the female staff and the night shifts might have more male members than female. Around 8 workers worked at a time excluding the manager. The staff comprised of English, French and Pakistani workers. The jobs were distributed in various categories as per the skills, competence level and qualification of each employee. Cashiers, food making staff, cleaning staff, employees dealing with drive-through customers and supervisors were all working to avoid any mishaps and quality compromising act.

The concept of globalization is no longer new. It has been completely understood and discussed by theorists, researchers, practitioners, educators etc. Regardless of the popularity given to this concept, a number of areas are still left to be explored about globalization. The recent discussions on globalization involve the arguments on its existence, the importance given to it today as compared to the past, the change in the concept of nation and citizenship because of globalization, the importance of globalization as against regionalism and localism. In addition a crucial debate is continuously rising on regarding the positive and negative impacts of globalization and exploring how people who are directly or indirectly influenced by the changes brought in by this concept.

Globalization is a comprehensive and wide topic which covers a huge list of important issues including economic, social, political, cultural, religious and moral etc. The definition of globalization is defined in the light of all these perspectives. As it is defined by James Rosenau, a political scientist, as "a label that is presently in vogue to account for peoples, activities, norms, ideas, goods, services, and currencies that are decreasingly confined to a particular geographic space and its local and established practices" (1997, p.360).

Most of the researchers focus their research on the economic impacts of globalization. It is undoubtedly clear that globalization has impacted the overall economic situation of the current world. However, the social, political and other areas also require attention as globalization has affected the policies, education, culture and overall social structure of the states. The economic aspects of globalization are not limited to its effects on microenvironment but it has affected markets on a macro level. The microeconomic effects refer to the technological advancements and the impact at individual firm levels, whereas, the macroeconomic effects involve the collaborative analysis of markets for business purposes (Oman, 1994).

The continuously increasing connection between people around the world has been observed since 1080s. Easy transport facilities and reduced transportation expenses along with the cheap transmission of information from one place to the other have helped the world cover and reduce distance barriers. In addition immigration, technology transfers, foreign direct investment and easy capital flows between countries are also observed to be increasing. Most of the states are showing their interest in understanding the impact of globalization on employment opportunities and income distribution. People have different views about the effects of globalization. The optimists place more emphasis on the increasing trend of trade and economical development. Furthermore, they connect the increasing trend of trade with overall growth and development, and also they make a claim that growth is in favour of the poor as it provides them with more job opportunities and reduction of poverty. On the other hand, the group of pessimist claims that globalization generates unconstructive counter effects on the earlier confined divisions. They also argue that globalization increases marginalization of all divisions of the global economy and also gives rise to inter-country income in equality. The conflicting views about globalization between these two groups also involved the arguments about the changing trends of poverty rate. Optimist argues that globalization has helped in reducing poverty pointing towards the decreased poverty global poverty rates in the last two decades. Whereas the opposing group argues against this claim by concluding that this reduction in poverty is because of statistical artefacts and rapid development of china. They also claim that absolute poverty has shown an increasing trend in a number of developing countries and relative poverty has increased in most of the states. From the above debate it is not difficult to conclude that globalization has a broader range of topics that require attention and more research. The range of these topics does not only involve political, economic, developmental and financial matters but also influence the social, cultural and environmental conditions of the entire world. The social effects of globalization include availability of opportunities for the reduction of poverty, employment rights and obligation, environmental issue, religious concern and so on.

Globalization has resulted in producing easy access to products and services for the consumers who had problems in accessing this stuff before the spread of this concept (Evenett, 1999). In order to achieve greater sales, profits and brand name, imported material and foreign investors produce such a pricing model that attracts more customers and breaks the customer chain of local businesses. The increasingly globalized world has also helped the poorer countries and those with food shortages with increased availability of food supplies (Mander & Goldsmith, 1996). The consumers who were earlier bound to purchase expensive products and supplies in limited resources due to local monopolistic market are not able to attain cheaper imported material as a substitute (Graham & Krugman, 1991). Gaunt (2002) provides evidence that poverty rates around the globe on individual and country basis has been reduced as a consequence of globalization. McDonalds provided an evidence of this globalized business structure by having different franchises and branches in different parts of the world. The globalized strategy of McDonalds is to keep the prices similar in all regions and the quality uncompromised. The franchise under consideration provided the evidence of uniformity in prices and quality of food along with the service quality. McDonald is specially valued for its cheap food stuff at every end of the world. People, especially the working and student population, were observed to rely on McDonalds as their regular diet.

Estimates from experts reveal that approximately 30-40% of the global population has taken some advantage from the increasingly globalized economy. On the other hand, the remaining population has not shown any such progress (Valaskakis, 1998). However, globalization is often blamed for increasing the gap between the skilled and unskilled, educated and uneducated, experienced and inexperienced, technologically knowledgeable and those who are unaware of modern technologies. Increasing competition has resulted in increasing this gap, whereas, increased competition has led the organizations to improve their performances and have made things better for the consumers (Frank & Cook, 1995). As far as the ethnographic study of McDonalds reveals, the claim that the gap between skilled and unskilled staff has been expanded may be refuted. The managers at the local branch were more motivated to polish the staff skills and qualities by training and educational facilities. Technologically knowledgeable people like those dealing with cash receipts and daily transactions were qualified for the work having relevant academic degree. Others with less qualification were placed for cleaning work. Similarly, those with high communication skills and friendly attitude were moved to the counters for order taking purposes and so on. The different backgrounds of people did not widen the gap but proposed a suitable position for every employee as per the qualities and experience (McDonalds in Europe 2007; McDonalds goes ethnic 2010; McDonalds 2010).

The impact of globalization on culture has also been discussed and researched by writers in an efficient way. Globalization has brought in many new changes, advancements and eases for people. It provides new information, reports and ideas to transmit from one person to the other. However, the increasing diverse population in countries has also posed a threat to their local security. People are now facing problems of terrorism and disruption due to uncivilized population merging from their native places to other countries. The religious conflicts are one of the crucial topics that result in the disruption of law and order situation in countries. People having different backgrounds and perceptions may create devastating circumstances not only for themselves but also for the local residents. The extremely diverse population is difficult to manage as people cannot be grouped at large due to different point of views and conflicts on matters. The residency problems are also troubling the governments in managing people. Lack of food, education and guidance for the foreigners are not only affecting their own lives but native residents are also affected by their acts. In the ethnographic study of McDonalds, it was observed that the staff from French, Pakistani and English culture had different attitudes, expectations and behaviours. Their cultural, moral and religious needs were different. However this diversity does not prevent them to cooperate to achieve the high quality of products and services of McDonalds.

Globalization has far reaching effects both positive and negative. These effects influence individual national and global life of people, businesses and countries. The positive effects of globalization are of immense importance and are integrated in today's world with such a tendency that it is not possible pull out its effects. The negative effects are harming the society, culture, environment and economic conditions of the world economies but it is not possible to eliminate this concept for the good of people. Somehow it has become inseparable part of our lives. However, governments and local authorities may take necessary steps to lesson or eliminate the negative effects of globalization. In addition more comprehensive and improved laws and regulations may help generating an equality based, unbiased and socially sound environment for the people in today's diverse world.

It is seen that increasingly in this world the concept of globalization is spreading. It has spread so much so that it is also seen in restaurants and everyday lives. Restaurants are making an image for themselves which is then being spread globally in order to expand their services. It is seen that globalization has its roots in the concept of spreading of certain businesses. The ethnographic study conducted by me on the organization clearly shows that McDonalds benefits from the concept of globalization by incorporating the diversified employees from different backgrounds. It also incorporates global strategies to manage the diversification in marketing and operational areas after introducing chains in different parts of the world it can be clearly seen that McDonalds is very successful in achieving its aim. It has also been seen that the value chain of McDonalds has improved over time with the integration of globalization. It is a chain of restaurant that has not only spread in the developed world but has also spread to the developing countries of Pakistan and India. With the help of globalization it is seen that McDonalds has been able to spread its root and provide the positives of globalization to the whole world. New job opportunities have been created for the people in these developing nations. It was clearly seen that McDonalds follows the policies of globalization in its working environment which has helped it to move towards success. The culture of globalization along with its theories is relevant to the working environment of McDonalds. These theories of globalization have been assessed and related to the structure of McDonalds formerly (McDonalds 2010).