Working for Mcdonald's in Europe: The Unequal Struggle?

By Tony Royle | Go to book overview

4

McDonald's at work

I've often said that I believe in God, family, and McDonald's and in the office that order is reversed.

(Ray Kroc, quoted in Vidal, 1997:37)

It's (McDonald's) been successful because every individual knows what's expected of him, whether he's a supplier to us or someone who works for us: it has to be right, it has to be the best, it has to be exactly when required-and if it isn't, as far as he's concerned that's it, he's gone.

(Director of McDonald's Russia, quoted in Parker, 1992:343).

The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization

(Ray Kroc, quoted in Love, 1995:144)

This chapter examines the restaurant hierarchy, the nature of the work, the employment relationship and the characteristics of the people who work at McDonald's. How does the corporation 'manage' the control and consent of its employees and managers? How does McDonald's deal with considerable differences in the availability of different kinds of workers in different labour markets? Can the concept of corporate culture help to maintain the uniformity of its employee relations practices across a variety of societal frameworks? We begin with a brief analysis of the restaurant hierarchy and the work itself.


McOrganisation

The hierarchy in McDonald's restaurants in all the countries in this study appears to be remarkably similar; where differences do exist, they appear to have a minimal impact on the corporation's basic American operating system. Figure 4.1 sets out the basic restaurant hierarchy below. The majority of employees are called the 'crew', and in fact this term appears to have been universally accepted; we have yet to find a country where this term is not in use. The term 'crew' was apparently used by the brothers right from the beginning of their 'Speedee Service System' in 1948, when they trained their

-56-

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Working for Mcdonald's in Europe: The Unequal Struggle?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables viii
  • 1 - Liberalism, Collectivism and the Multinational Corporation 1
  • 2 - Welcome to Big Mac 16
  • 3 - The Corporate Paradox 35
  • 4 - Mcdonald's at Work 56
  • 5 - 'there's No Place like Home' 85
  • 6 - Co-Determination? 119
  • 7 - For a Few Dollars More 150
  • 8 - Where's the Beef? 177
  • 9 - Conclusion 196
  • Appendix 215
  • Notes 223
  • References 226
  • Index 241
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