‘McJobs': a comparison of the academic and McDonald's casual worker experience

Andrew Nadolny, Karen McNeil, Ryan Suzanne, Bert Groen, Asit Bhattacharyya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

Abstract

The concept of McDonaldization was coined as a metaphor for the new 'Taylorism' of product standardisation through efficient use of labour and technology by the 'rational' service organisation. Changes to higher education systems under the direction of neoliberal reform have used corporatisation and managerialism to develop universities into ‘rational’ service organisations and in doing so have made universities an easy target for the application of the McDonaldization concept. As universities transform themselves from social to economic institutions, the exchange value of knowledge, albeit creation, transmission or application, outweighs and overshadows its intrinsic value so that university managers focus on money, markets and efficiencies with the aim of producing the best standard product at the lowest cost. At the same time, governments have adopted the role of consumer protection and watchdog agencies, requiring universities to produce to specified levels and standards, and most importantly account for their actions in doing this. The result has been an increasing similarity between universities and the real McDonald’s, quality rules and regulations, cultures of audit, accreditations and accountability, standardisation of programs, more levels of management and surveillance, and increased reliance on cheap and flexible labour. However, it is in the management of labour that universities and McDonald’s differ the most. Based on previous research, McDonald’s website and results from a case study of casual academic labour, the paper compares McDonald’s management of casual staff with that of a university and finds casual employees have better treatment and prospects at McDonald’s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe way forward : incorporating the 13th Path to Full Employment Conference and 18th National Conference on Unemployment : 7-8 December 2011, The University of Newcastle, Australia : proceedings : refereed papers
EditorsGraham Wrightson
Place of PublicationCallaghan, N.S.W.
PublisherThe University of Newcastle
Pages131-140
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780987114341
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventThe way forward : incorporating the 13th Path to Full Employment Conference and 18th National Conference on Unemployment - Callaghan, Australia
Duration: 7 Nov 20118 Nov 2011

Conference

ConferenceThe way forward : incorporating the 13th Path to Full Employment Conference and 18th National Conference on Unemployment
CountryAustralia
CityCallaghan
Period7/11/118/11/11

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