Max Weber was known for his theory of rationalization, which basically stated that our world is becoming so structured and predictable that it is heavily affecting our society and inhibiting our creativity. He also stated that ideal-type bureaucracy was a form of rationalization, but many researchers recognize that this does not reflect true reality but just explains the ideal type. Ultimately it will lead to depersonalization and people feeling lost in a tedious routine, victim to the mainstream paperwork and activities of daily life. Robert Merton also agreed that bureaucracies cause problems in society due to the many restrictions or as he called it “red tape”. Ritzer added to this with his theory of McDonaldization, which basically stated that the way fast food chains operate is slowly consuming the way our world operates globally, and it is beginning to affect all aspects of our life.
The “irrationality of rationalization” is about how rational activities often become irrational and lead to dysfunction and wasted time. One example of this that I’ve experienced in my personal life is in the hospital. I’ve gone to the hospital a handful of times in my life but I remember the times I have gone, it’s been dysfunctional. My hospital experiences have all been fairly negative as the experience itself is weighed down by tons of paperwork and ridiculous waiting times. As you walk in, whether it be in the emergency room or any area in the hospital really, you have to check in. Then you have to fill out pages of paperwork that can seem extremely tedious and unnecessary when you or the person you’re with is in a great deal of pain. Then once you submit the required paperwork, you have to wait for them to process it and begin to check you in. This is where some medical staff member will ask you about your situation and then they will lead you to a room, if there is one available. The waiting in the room is often the longest wait time and it seems disorganized. Also you feel as though you’re repeating yourself to every single professional you see, as they do not have a streamlined way of communicating with each other. Next, they have to give you medication, if your condition requires it, and this leaves room for a lot of error as well and can lead to a big dispute with the pharmacy as there is usually a communication error. Finally discharging patients can be a big ordeal because this process can take a long time as you wait for a professional. This time is vital because patient turnover can be much more efficient if that time was reduced.
More often than not, a person’s hospital experience is not efficient and organized; rather, it is a blur of waiting, repetition and paperwork. This is an example of an establishment that is meant to help people, but the disorganized and tedious processes that they employ can completely derail the main goal and cause patient dissatisfaction and people not getting the treatment they need. These processes can be more mainstreamed and communication must be improved among the doctors, nurses and front desk staff to create a more efficient work environment.