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Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex

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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 27 Apr 2017, 00:09
11min 46 seconds
5/8
I think I have done really well, as it was a really tough one !

Isn't it worthless to do a passage with these many questions? In my view, we read a passage with a short term memory, which in my view is good enough to answer only 3-4 questions. Hence worthless to do a passage with 7-8 questions. In my trend of trying to solve passages with many questions, I invariably get the first 3-4 right, then I start to get them wrong as the memory of the passage begins to fade away. Any one comment on this?

Also, what would be the time strategy for such a passage? Do we spent close to 2 mins per question?

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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 20:24
AshwinChopra wrote:
11min 46 seconds
5/8
I think I have done really well, as it was a really tough one !

Isn't it worthless to do a passage with these many questions? In my view, we read a passage with a short term memory, which in my view is good enough to answer only 3-4 questions. Hence worthless to do a passage with 7-8 questions. In my trend of trying to solve passages with many questions, I invariably get the first 3-4 right, then I start to get them wrong as the memory of the passage begins to fade away. Any one comment on this?

Also, what would be the time strategy for such a passage? Do we spent close to 2 mins per question?


I believe exactly the opposite of what you have mentioned. I think, a passage with more number of questions is more beneficial for the test-taker than one with less number of questions. I assume you wanted to talk about the 'length' of the passage and not the number of questions. IMO, the best case would be to have a smaller passage with more questions.

Look at it this way, even if the passage is big (worst case), you just have to invest your time once and understand it nicely. Once you understand the jist and become confident about a particular passage, you can answer most of the questions correctly with minimal (or no) re-readings. And therefore, having more questions from something you now have grip on makes more sense. Moreover, if its a 700 level (tough RC) with more number of questions- Even Better! You may give a couple of mins more than what you usually do, to tackle this. But, once you get a hold of it, you will shoot your score with the next set of questions.

In effect, having more number of questions in a RC (that u understand) saves you from facing daunting questions from CR/SC towards the end of the test. Compare facing a tough RC with 8-10 questions with 8-10 tough CR/SC's in a row. Be it time, complexity, score boost, anything, the former is always safe :)

Against the popular belief, i always believe that RC is a safe score booster and time saver for us. All the info you need to answer the question is in front of us and you dont have to look at your timer- give yourself time, understand and hit 90% accuracy in the questions to follow.

I recommend practicing as many RC passages from OGs as one can to get a hold on the (very few) patterns that GMAC have in their arsenal. Its becomes way easier than perceived :)
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Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2017, 08:05
mojorising800 wrote:
Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone exchange on exchange maintenance work and workers is a solid contribution to a debate that encompasses two lively issues in the history and sociology of technology: technological determinism and social constructivism.
 
Clark makes the point that the characteristics of a technology have a decisive influence on job skills and work organization. Put more strongly, technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization. Clark believes this possibility has been obscured by the recent sociological fashion, exemplified by Braverman’s analysis, that emphasizes the way machinery reflects social choices. For Braverman, the shape of a technological system is subordinate to the manager’s desire to wrest control of the labor process from the workers. Technological change is construed as the outcome of negotiations among interested parties who seek to incorporate their own interests into the design and configuration of the machinery. This position represents the new mainstream called social constructivism.
 
The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe, for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization.
 
Clark refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theoretical and empirical arguments. Theoretically he defines “technology” in terms of relationships between social and technical variables. Attempts to reduce the meaning of technology to cold, hard metal are bound to fail, for machinery is just scrap unless it is organized functionally and supported by appropriate systems of operation and maintenance. At the empirical level Clark shows how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semielectronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers. Some changes Clark attributes to the particular way management and labor unions negotiated the introduction of the technology, whereas others are seen as arising from the capabilities and nature of the technology itself. Thus Clark helps answer the question: “When is social choice decisive and when are the concrete characteristics of technology more important?”
120. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) advocate a more positive attitude toward technological change
(B) discuss the implications for employees of the modernization of a telephone exchange
(C) consider a successful challenge to the constructivist view of technological change
(D) challenge the position of advocates of technological determinism
(E) suggest that the social causes of technological change should be studied in real situations



Passage: Technological Change

Question: Primary Purpose

The Simple Story


Two distinct views exist regarding technological change. Technological determinism suggests that the features of the technology determine organizational structure. Social constructivism holds that technology reflects social choices. Constructionists misrepresent determinist theory to make it seem implausible. Clark challenges constructionist views, showing examples of both theories in his analysis of the modernization of the telephone industry. The final sentence indicates that Clark does not agree with either theory entirely; rather, both theories can be valid, depending on the details of the specific circumstance at hand.

Sample Passage Map

Here is one way to map this passage. (Note: abbreviate as desired!)

1) Clark on TD vs SC

2) TD: tech → org

SC: power → tech

3) SC misrepresent TD

4) Clark: eg both in telephone

Note: eg is an abbreviation for for example.

Step 1: Identify the Question

The words primary purpose in the question stem indicate that this is a Primary Purpose question.

Step 2: Find the Support

On main idea questions, your passage map and your general understanding of the passage will provide the information you need to answer the question. Briefly reiterate the simple story to yourself: There are two competing theories about technological change. Clark shows that the ideas are not mutually exclusive, as suggested by constructivists.

Step 3: Predict an Answer

The correct answer should focus on the major themes of the passage. Clark challenges the view that constructivism is mutually exclusive with determinism.

Step 4: Eliminate and Find a Match

(A) The passage discusses the process of technological change, but does not encourage a more positive attitude.

(B) Some changes for telephone employees are mentioned in the fourth paragraph, but these changes are not the main idea of the passage. This answer ignores the theories of technological change.

(C) CORRECT. The passage challenges the constructivists’ view that determinism is implausible. The first sentence of the last paragraph, which states Clark refutes the extremes of constructivists, provides specific support.

(D) Though the constructivists do challenge the determinism theory, the overall message revolves around Clark’s study, which shows that technological determinism is a plausible explanation for particular changes.

(E) Clark does study changes in the telephone industry (a real situation), but the passage does not suggest that this method is how social causes should be studied in general.
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 18:36
Dear mikemcgarry,

I have doubt for question 121. Although, I am able to select answer C, i am not convinced with usage of went beyond maintenance routines. It seems to me extreme word.

I am able to select correct answer as a result of POE.

Could you help me to understand why C is 100% correct.

Thank You
Amm

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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 12:33
ammuseeru wrote:
Dear mikemcgarry,

I have doubt for question 121. Although, I am able to select answer C, i am not convinced with usage of went beyond maintenance routines. It seems to me extreme word.

I am able to select correct answer as a result of POE.

Could you help me to understand why C is 100% correct.

Thank You
Amm

Dear ammuseeru,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here is a sentence from near the end of the passage.
At the empirical level Clark shows how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semielectronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers.

So, before the change, the tasks were "maintenance-intensive," and they weren't after the change, so certainly one thing that changed was the ordinary everyday work around maintenance, what we might call "maintenance routines"---the routines associated with maintenance of the equipment. This was a big job before modernization, and a much much smaller concern after modernization.

At the same time, some of the jobs had radical changes. Now, there weren't as many jobs doing the ordinary day-by-day maintenance, but there were new jobs that involved new "tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers." Employees were doing new things that no one had ever done before--before the technology changed, there had never been any thought of these new jobs.

Thus, there were a lot of changes, not just changes in "maintenance routines." There were many more changes that "went beyond maintenance routines."

Thus, we can reasonably say that: "The modernization had an impact that went significantly beyond maintenance routines."

Choice (C) is well-supported by that sentence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 19:39
mikemcgarry wrote:
ammuseeru wrote:
Dear mikemcgarry,

I have doubt for question 121. Although, I am able to select answer C, i am not convinced with usage of went beyond maintenance routines. It seems to me extreme word.

I am able to select correct answer as a result of POE.

Could you help me to understand why C is 100% correct.

Thank You
Amm

Dear ammuseeru,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here is a sentence from near the end of the passage.
At the empirical level Clark shows how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semielectronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers.

So, before the change, the tasks were "maintenance-intensive," and they weren't after the change, so certainly one thing that changed was the ordinary everyday work around maintenance, what we might call "maintenance routines"---the routines associated with maintenance of the equipment. This was a big job before modernization, and a much much smaller concern after modernization.

At the same time, some of the jobs had radical changes. Now, there weren't as many jobs doing the ordinary day-by-day maintenance, but there were new jobs that involved new "tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers." Employees were doing new things that no one had ever done before--before the technology changed, there had never been any thought of these new jobs.

Thus, there were a lot of changes, not just changes in "maintenance routines." There were many more changes that "went beyond maintenance routines."

Thus, we can reasonably say that: "The modernization had an impact that went significantly beyond maintenance routines."

Choice (C) is well-supported by that sentence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Awesome :) Explanation was awesome. You made it easy to understand :)
Mike, Thank you very much

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Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 02:48
mojorising800 wrote:
Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone exchange on exchange maintenance work and workers is a solid contribution to a debate that encompasses two lively issues in the history and sociology of technology: technological determinism and social constructivism.
 
Clark makes the point that the characteristics of a technology have a decisive influence on job skills and work organization. Put more strongly, technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization. Clark believes this possibility has been obscured by the recent sociological fashion, exemplified by Braverman’s analysis, that emphasizes the way machinery reflects social choices. For Braverman, the shape of a technological system is subordinate to the manager’s desire to wrest control of the labor process from the workers. Technological change is construed as the outcome of negotiations among interested parties who seek to incorporate their own interests into the design and configuration of the machinery. This position represents the new mainstream called social constructivism.
 
The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe, for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization.
 
Clark refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theoretical and empirical arguments. Theoretically he defines “technology” in terms of relationships between social and technical variables. Attempts to reduce the meaning of technology to cold, hard metal are bound to fail, for machinery is just scrap unless it is organized functionally and supported by appropriate systems of operation and maintenance. At the empirical level Clark shows how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semielectronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers. Some changes Clark attributes to the particular way management and labor unions negotiated the introduction of the technology, whereas others are seen as arising from the capabilities and nature of the technology itself. Thus Clark helps answer the question: “When is social choice decisive and when are the concrete characteristics of technology more important?”
120. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) advocate a more positive attitude toward technological change
(B) discuss the implications for employees of the modernization of a telephone exchange
(C) consider a successful challenge to the constructivist view of technological change
(D) challenge the position of advocates of technological determinism
(E) suggest that the social causes of technological change should be studied in real situations

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


121. Which of the following statements about the modernization of the telephone exchange is supported by information in the passage?
(A) The new technology reduced the role of managers in labor negotiations.
(B) The modernization was implemented without the consent of the employees directly affected by it.
(C) The modernization had an impact that went significantly beyond maintenance routines.
(D) Some of the maintenance workers felt victimized by the new technology.
(E) The modernization gave credence to the view of advocates of social constructivism.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


122. Which of the following most accurately describes Clark’s opinion of Braverman’s position?
(A) He respects its wide-ranging popularity.
(B) He disapproves of its misplaced emphasis on the influence of managers.
(C) He admires the consideration it gives to the attitudes of the workers affected.
(D) He is concerned about its potential to impede the implementation of new technologies.
(E) He is sympathetic to its concern about the impact of modern technology on workers.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
B


123. The information in the passage suggests that which of the following statements from hypothetical sociological studies of change in industry most clearly exemplifi es the social constructivists’ version of technological determinism?
(A) It is the available technology that determines workers’ skills, rather than workers’ skills influencing the application of technology.
(B) All progress in industrial technology grows out of a continuing negotiation between technological possibility and human need.
(C) Some organizational change is caused by people; some is caused by computer chips.
(D) Most major technological advances in industry have been generated through research and development.
(E) Some industrial technology eliminates jobs, but educated workers can create whole new skills areas by the adaptation of the technology.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


124. The information in the passage suggests that Clark believes that which of the following would be true if social constructivism had not gained widespread acceptance?
(A) Businesses would be more likely to modernize without considering the social consequences of their actions.
(B) There would be greater understanding of the role played by technology in producing social change.
(C) Businesses would be less likely to understand the attitudes of employees affected by modernization.
(D) Modernization would have occurred at a slower rate.
(E) Technology would have played a greater part in determining the role of business in society.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
B


125. According to the passage, constructivists employed which of the following to promote their argument?
(A) Empirical studies of business situations involving technological change
(B) Citation of managers supportive of their position
(C) Construction of hypothetical situations that support their view
(D) Contrasts of their view with a misstatement of an opposing view
(E) Descriptions of the breadth of impact of technological change

[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


126. The author of the passage uses the expression “are supposed to” in line 27 primarily in order to
(A) suggest that a contention made by constructivists regarding determinists is inaccurate
(B) defi ne the generally accepted position of determinists regarding the implementation of technology
(C) engage in speculation about the motivation of determinists
(D) lend support to a comment critical of the position of determinists
(E) contrast the historical position of determinists with their position regarding the exchange modernization

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


127. Which of the following statements about Clark’s study of the telephone exchange can be inferred from information in the passage?
(A) Clark’s reason for undertaking the study was to undermine Braverman’s analysis of the function of technology.
(B) Clark’s study suggests that the implementation of technology should be discussed in the context of confl ict between labor and management.
(C) Clark examined the impact of changes in the technology of switching at the exchange in terms of overall operations and organization.
(D) Clark concluded that the implementation of new switching technology was equally benefi cial to management and labor.
(E) Clark’s analysis of the change in switching systems applies only narrowly to the situation at the particular exchange that he studied.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


Please provide answers with explanations!!



123. The information in the passage suggests that which of the following statements from hypothetical sociological studies of change in industry most clearly exemplifies the social constructivists’ version of technological determinism?
(A) It is the available technology that determines workers’ skills, rather than workers’ skills influencing the application of technology.
(B) All progress in industrial technology grows out of a continuing negotiation between technological possibility and human need.
(C) Some organizational change is caused by people; some is caused by computer chips.
(D) Most major technological advances in industry have been generated through research and development.
(E) Some industrial technology eliminates jobs, but educated workers can create whole new skills areas by the adaptation of the technology.


Hi mikemcgarry,

I have a doubt with respect to question number 123 (the one talking about the social constructivists' version of technological determinism). It says that A is the answer. Though I understand this can be evidenced from "The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe, for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization." portion of the passage. They assume that this determinism believes that "technology determines worker's skill". But isn't this true ? Because a portion in the third para clearly states that "how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semi electronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers". This shows Clarke's view of determinism also says that technology affects skills. And he is said to be successfully challenging the constructivist view, i.e, refuting the same, then how can both of these present the same opinion ?

Thanks in advance! :-)

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