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

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

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03 Jan 2010, 07:39
6
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Question 1
00:00

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51% (02:26) correct 49% (02:36) wrong based on 727

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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

[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #5 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #6 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #7 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #8 OA

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Last edited by hazelnut on 28 Sep 2017, 07:58, edited 1 time in total.
Edited the 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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16 Aug 2010, 11:39
C,C,D,A,B,E,E,C

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

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21 Sep 2010, 18:19
IMO CCCAEDEC

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

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23 Sep 2010, 19:23
My choice.
c
c
d
a
e
d
a
c

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

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02 Dec 2010, 21:21
Here's part of it: rc-telephone-exchange-64280.html

CCBDBCBC

rite2deepti wrote:
Guys Please be kind to post the OA so that we can know how many questions we got right ..
OA's are
120-C
121-C
122-B
123-A
124-B
125-D
126-A
127-C

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

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28 Dec 2012, 18:37
1
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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

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

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29 Dec 2012, 05:02
well

What you have pasted is not useful to understand completely the main point or gist of the passage

here is the 3rd paragraph

Quote:
Clark refutes the extremes of the constructivists
by both theoretical and empirical arguments.

Theoretically he deﬁ nes “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
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?”

as you can see from my highlighted parts clear Clark challenges the constructivism and how, with clear points in positive. so successful. Do not streess too much on a single word.

NEVER. Trying to understand really the whole picture and main point (and the rest) comes up almost suddenly
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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29 Dec 2012, 09:14
The fact is that Clarke counters the extremes of the constructivists with sufficient empirical and logical arguments. So it is success enough in that sense. For an RC, there is no need to analyze as is done in CR.
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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2013, 17:32
4
KUDOS
Expert's post
danzig wrote:
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!

I am responding to a pm from danzig. I like what carcass and daagh have to say on this page. I will just say --- I think you are reading too much into the phrase "successfully challenge."

Suppose you make an argument about something. Suppose I "successfully challenge" this argument. That doesn't necessarily mean that I completely obliterate your position, making it logically impossible for you or anyone else ever to hold that position again. That's too strong. All it means to challenge an argument is to raise serious objections, such that you would have to answer my objections or re-adjust your position to maintain the integrity of your argument. If I just say, "I don't agree", but don't say anything else, that's not a particularly successful challenge because it doesn't really require you to respond. A successful challenge requires an authentic response of some kind.

Here, the social constructivists staked out some position, and then Clark raised some serious objections to this position. It's not necessarily a complete rebuttal --- just objections. The social constructivists, in order to be taken serious, will have to answer these objections. In other words, Clark's analysis demands a response from them. That's a successful challenge.

Does that 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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12 Jul 2014, 06:57
1
KUDOS
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]

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28 Oct 2014, 05:18
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?

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

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24 Nov 2014, 23:14
Hey guys,

General question - given length of passage and number of questions, how much time would you recommend people to budget for:
2) completing all questions?

I got 7 out of 8 correct but it took me 18min from start to finish - way too long?

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

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24 Nov 2014, 23:30
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?

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

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02 Dec 2014, 01:29
This is one the toughest RC passages that I have come across. Got 6/8. Could have done better. In my defence, I just had a heavy lunch.

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

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12 Apr 2016, 19:06
3
KUDOS
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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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2016, 10:38
arhumsid wrote:
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!

E is wrong as "technology does not determine the role of business in society"; rather, "technology influences social change".

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

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18 Aug 2016, 10:04
mikemcgarry wrote:
danzig wrote:
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!

I am responding to a pm from danzig. I like what carcass and daagh have to say on this page. I will just say --- I think you are reading too much into the phrase "successfully challenge."

Suppose you make an argument about something. Suppose I "successfully challenge" this argument. That doesn't necessarily mean that I completely obliterate your position, making it logically impossible for you or anyone else ever to hold that position again. That's too strong. All it means to challenge an argument is to raise serious objections, such that you would have to answer my objections or re-adjust your position to maintain the integrity of your argument. If I just say, "I don't agree", but don't say anything else, that's not a particularly successful challenge because it doesn't really require you to respond. A successful challenge requires an authentic response of some kind.

Here, the social constructivists staked out some position, and then Clark raised some serious objections to this position. It's not necessarily a complete rebuttal --- just objections. The social constructivists, in order to be taken serious, will have to answer these objections. In other words, Clark's analysis demands a response from them. That's a successful challenge.

Does that make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike

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

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

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18 Aug 2016, 10:51
Expert's post
1
This post was
BOOKMARKED
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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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2016, 08:31
3
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1
This post was
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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
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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Re: Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone ex [#permalink]

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GETTING LESS CORRECT DAY BY DAY

CAN SOMEPNE PLEASE EXPLAIN 3, 4, 7

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