Security Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 294–309 | Cite as

‘Acting like chameleons’: On the McDonaldization of private security

  • Ronald van StedenEmail author
  • Jaap de Waard
Original Article


Private security is a fragmented industry with tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized suppliers worldwide. However, with the arrival in the market of multinational brands such as Group 4 Securicor and Securitas, we are witnessing a McDonaldization of security commodities. This development signals the global introduction of recognizable logos and uniforms along with standardized services and products. After providing the latest statistics on the growth of private security in Europe, we give examples of how the McDonaldization of this industry is evolving throughout the continent. Our examples illustrate that, following the lead of traditional corporate customers, governments have also started to use contract guards and other private security services. This article also addresses the driving forces behind the rise of multinational security companies, and the opportunities and challenges they present to Western societies.


private security European Union multinational companies 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Governance StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Law Enforcement DepartmentMinistry of Security and Justice, Unit for General Crime PolicyThe HagueThe Netherlands

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