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Difficulty: 655-705 Level,    Long Passage,    Social Science,                                  
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Question 1


Tanchat wrote:
Dear Experts,

Could you pls summarize the passage?
I just map question and info and got correct some questions. However, I don't understand the whole passage.

I got incorrect 3 questions

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.

As you read through the passage, ask yourself why the author wrote each paragraph. Then, determine how those paragraphs fit together.

Here's an example of that for this passage:

Paragraph 1: The author introduces a study that contributes to a debate.

  • The debate is between technological determinism and social constructivism.
  • John Clark is the author of the study.

Paragraph 2: The author explains which side of the debate that the new study supports, then discusses the other side.

  • Clark is on the "technological determinism" side.
  • Clark disagrees with Braverman, who is on the "social constructivism" side.

Paragraph 3: The author criticizes the "social constructivism" side of the debate.

  • The social constructivists misrepresent the "technological determinism" side.

Paragraph 4: The author further explains how Clark argues against social constructivists.

From this analysis, we can see that the author's primary purpose is to explain how Clark successfully advocates for the technological determinism and fights against social constructivism.

That matches up well with (C):
Quote:
(C) [The primary purpose of the passage is to] consider a successful challenge to the constructivist view of technological change

(C) is the correct answer to question 1.

I hope that helps!
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Discussed in detail at the below mentioned link
jon-clark-s-study-of-the-effect-of-the-modernization-of-a-88689.html#p669013


Jon Clark's study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone exchange on exchange maintenance work and workers is a solid contributionto a debate that encompasses two lively issues in the history and sociology of technology: technological determinism and social constructivism.
Clark makes the point that characteristics of a technology have a decisive influence on job skills and work organization (this is called technological determinism). Put more strongly, technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization. Clark believes this possibility has been obscured by recent sociological fashion, called social constructivism.
(...)
Clark refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theorical and empirical arguments. (...) Thus Clark helps answer the question: "When is social choice decisive and when are the concrete characteristics of technology more important?

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


Please your help with a doubt I have in this question. I have reduced the passage to help you:

The OA is C, and I agree, but the word "successful" doesn't sound good to me. The author believes that Clark's study is successful, but it doesn't mean that really it is successful or that I believe it is successful.
It seems that the choice is suggesting that the study is really successful, which we don't know.

Please, tell me whether I am wrong with this claim and why.
Thanks!
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rishi081992 wrote:
I think Question no. 126 should have C as the answer. The usage of "are supposed to" is clearly a speculation. Kudos to anyone who explains this.


Hi rishi,

'Are supposed to' here is definitely a speculation but is not about the motivation of determinants but about the motivation of constructivists trying to misrepresent determinants.
Here constructivists are trying to dilute/weaken the determinants view point by misrepresenting/manipulating the determinants view point. Hence option A is right.
Hope that helps.

Thank You.
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]
Can someone explain why C is correct in question 127, please?
I know it is an inference question and I think A is correct.
Maybe because I am not a native speaker, I just cannot figer out the structure of the sentence in C.
Can someone help me?
Thanks in advance!
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]
liu1993918 wrote:
Can someone explain why C is correct in question 127, please?
I know it is an inference question and I think A is correct.
Maybe because I am not a native speaker, I just cannot figer out the structure of the sentence in C.
Can someone help me?
Thanks in advance!



Hey liu1993918.

Right answer is: (C) Clark examined the impact of changes in the technology of switching at the exchange in terms of overall operations and organization.

The key sentence in the passage for this question is this:

"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."

Note that Clark is saying that tech change created change across "work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers". These changes are varied and are both operational and organisational in nature.

Does this help?
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While going through the above discussion, I was surprised to see that q-124 wasnt discussed. Now, i believe that i should be missing something really basic. I am confused between two choices B and E.

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?
(B) There would be greater understanding of the role played by technology in producing social change.
(E) Technology would have played a greater part in determining the role of business in society.


The OA is B but i am more convinced with E. Below is the relevant portion of the passage:
"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. "

Now, E says that 'Technology would have played a greater part..', this is what the bolded portion above implies. On the other hand, B talks about 'greater understanding of the role played by technology', where does the passage talk about anybody's understanding?

We cant dispute the OA as this is official stuff, I just want to see what am i missing here.

Can someone please elaborate on this (and earn a Kudos :) )?

-Thanks!
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sinhap07 wrote:
Hi Mike

Why not A here? The author seems to support Jon's stand in the passage ie a positive bent towards tech.

Dear sinhap07,

I'm happy to respond. :-) My friend, there is a BIG difference between the author's purpose, why she decided to put words down for others to read, vs. something the author happens to believe.

I have absolutely no doubt that if we asked the author, "Do you yourself have a positive attitude toward technological change?" she would say yes. Furthermore, if we asked her "Do you think people in general should have a more positive attitude toward technological change?" she may well say yes to that too. It's not hard to imagine that this is something the author believes.

BUT--and this is very important to understand--that's different from the author's purpose, the reason why the author chose to write precisely about this topic.

You see, the beginnings and conclusions of a passage are important. In the opening sentence, the author says, "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." The words "solid contribution" are a positive value judgment, and this about as strong an endorsement as we will see in academic writing. What seems very important to the author is the strength of Clark's contribution: we know the author cares about this, so the purpose for writing should be connected to this.

You see, if the author's purpose were to "advocate a more positive attitude toward technological change," then we would have to see explicit statements about the opinions of people toward technology, or judgments about ways technological change might be portrayed (e.g. in the new, in movies, etc.) There would have to be a bold statement somewhere along the lines of "people should look more favorably at the way technology benefits them." The author's main purpose is always supported by an explicit statement.

In this response I am writing, my purpose is to you answer your question. Someone reading this might infer that I care about the questions on the GMAT or I respect the quality of the official questions or something such as that, but none of these is my specific intention in setting these words down. My specific intention is to address your question.

The primary purpose of a passage cannot be something we simply infer from the passage. Choice (A) might be a plausible answer for an inference question, but it's totally incorrect for a primary purpose question.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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EXPLANATIONS (8/8 11min) ... (3.9 gpa law degree / quant finance "degree" - first time gmatter in t minus oh god)

120, C) a/b/e all irrelevant. C wins vs D because the passage is a 3rd person perspective of a challenge as opposed to a challenge itself. For those aiming higher another subtle clue is "success" - references at the end of the text strongly imply there is evidentiary support for the argument. Hence the challenge is a succesful one (purpose of the challenge is not outright victory but rather to raise questions to be rebutted)

121 C) Simple - all other answers unsupported or illogical

122 B) Accuracy questions can be difficult but this one is rather simple , it requires a translation of influence of managers to the academic defititions in the piece and then an assesment of whether its in there. The word here that requires a bit of thought is dissaproval which is by definition a sentiment so you need to find the implicit reference to this - its not completely clear but a nice text reference is "Clark refutes " ... refute implies a rebuttal with some element of sentiment ... once you have this its quite clear.

123 ) A) Long question - deceptively simple answer. The key is to spend time on the question .... the translation is basically - which of the following defines best the social construct version of tech determinism.

Big step - From reading ... understand that the social construct version of tech determinism. is a modified and innacurate version of the "proper tech determinism". I have used the phrase in the txt to highlight how i translated it "The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe (ACCORDING TO THE INNACURATE CONSTRUCTIVIST UNDERSTANDING) , for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is (ACCORDING TO THIS INCORRECT VIEW IS DEFINED AS) technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization" .... there is a lot of implicit support for this in the paragraphs above

there is another way... all other questions are incorrect by omission ... but wanted to show the correct logic above

124. B) - Some commentary on this but actually the explanation is quite straightforward so ill go into detail. Again its all about the question
1) Key elements: WOULD / if / had not: implication -> might have happened
2) "if social constructivism had not gained widespread acceptance?"
3) Rephrased ... what would have happened if social constructivism had not showed up.
4) What is social constructivism? ... Its an incorrect theory put forward which suggests that technology is a construct of managers blah blah .
5) Final rephrase. [i]What would have happened if this stupid theory which incorrectly gives too much weight to managers and determinism etc tec hadnt showed up and become popular

The question therefore is ... XYZ believes social conservatism has prevented (Answer) from happening
a - c - d all irrelevant
e) irrelevant/illogical- did the theory of how technology and social change stop technology from having that change.. no the theory is seeking to understand the technological change. Also business is too narrow

clearly A)

125) D) See above for why this is the right answer - they misconstrue the opposing view and use it to support their view

126) A) See above

127) C only relevant answer - rest too specific and E) is incorrect implication and also unsupported in text

Hope useful ... anyone wany to sit my quant for me in return?
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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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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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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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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
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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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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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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



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



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.



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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Poorvasha wrote:
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! :-)

Dear Poorvasha,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The technological determinists (TD) look at the way the machines determine things about human behaviors and relationships.

The social constructivist (SC) think human choice is everything. They think humans influence machines, not vice versa. The SC folks misrepresent the TD position, saying:
the TD folks say that machines influence people, and people never influence machines.
This is an extreme position. It is something called in English a "paper tiger"-- an extreme and therefore weakened position that is easy to refute. This is a common technique in argument; create a weakened version of the opponent's argument and show how that's easy to refute.

Jon Clark is more sympathetic to the TD view, and he "refutes" the SC simplification of the TD position. Jon Clark says that the influence between people and machines goes both ways--this is closer to the true TD position, and against what the SC are trying to claim. The word "refute" is an exceptional powerful word: this is about as strong and as explicit as the GMAT RC gets!! It's very important to give full attention to such a powerful word.

Question #123 is only about the "social constructivists’ version of technological determinism," in other words, the extreme misrepresentation (the red statement above). Jon Clark is NOT a social constructivist. He does not share this simplified extreme view of the TD position. Instead, he refutes the SC simplification of the TD position. Jon Clark is not agreeing with the SC--in fact, he's refuting them--so what Jon Clark thinks is NOT part of what question #123 is asking. In fact, what Jon Clark thinks will directly contradict the SC position, precisely because he refutes it. Thus, Jon Clark's conclusions, in par. 3, is 100% outside what question 123 is asking.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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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. A refers to this part of the passage "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.


But the blue is referring to how social constructivists lie about technological determinists

The q is asking about what social constructivists think about technological deterministation which i believe is stated here "Technological change is construed as the outcome of negotiations among interested parties who seek to incorporate their own interests into the design and confi guration of the machinery. This position represents the new mainstream called social constructivism"


Hence - per the Red, should'nt (B) be the answer ?
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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?”
RC00013-01. 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



RC00013-02. 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.



RC00013-03. 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.



RC00013-04. 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.



RC00013-07. 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.



RC00013-05. 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



RC00013-08. 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



RC00013-09. 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.



Please provide answers with explanations!!


One of the worst passages I have ever seen!
2 correct only out of 8! :(

workout please please post the OE and how to solve such condense passages in so little time?
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