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QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented

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QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2016, 07:36
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Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented with giving regional offices greater leeway in making decisions that traditionally had been handed down from headquarters. Local retailers have been given the latitude to devise regional branding that differs substantially from the company’s national image. In the corporate world, two offices within the same firm in the same state might have differing hiring practices, hierarchical structures, and a different set of job benefits. One nationwide high-technology firm went so far as to give each of its regional offices a turn at doing business for three weeks in which all but the most urgent communications with the head office were discouraged.

One case study, involving a company that offers automobile, homeowner, and office insurance at a dozen locations in the Midwest and the South, provides a lesson in the pitfalls and advantages of “added autonomy,” as this approach is sometimes called. At first, regional managers were wary of taking on too much self-governance, despite personal assurances from the company’s president. This hesitancy initially led to less initiative, precisely the opposite of what was intended. Aggravating matters, many of the top people in the national office felt psychologically uneasy loosening the controls, especially when they realized that local offices were communicating more than ever with one another not under the watchful eyes of the head office. However, this region-to-region sharing of concerns and ideas proved to be genuinely beneficial. A discussion
between managers at the firm’s Atlanta and Oklahoma City offices led them both to abandon a new policy for drivers with substandard records, a decision that in retrospect
saved the company millions of dollars.

Some regional offices went too far or moved too swiftly. When the firm’s Topeka office decided to step up its marketing efforts to home business owners, a manager thought to save time by using promotional material that was based largely on the company’s homeowner’s insurance material. Eventually, the home office’s legal department discovered that certain terms that applied to the homeowner’s insurance should have been removed from the home business material. By the time this discovery was made, the firm was forced to honor the terms that had been offered.

Despite problems with the retention of personnel at both the regional and national levels, the company has decided to continue along with this program. In light of the company’s slowed economic growth, the ability to find individuals who are comfortable with added autonomy may remain the biggest challenge to the program’s proper implementation, for this or any other company that wishes to pursue an “added autonomy” initiative.
The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

(A) Detailing the impact that a new business practice has had on several companies
(B) Evaluating the unintended consequences of a shift in hiring and promoting practices at one representative business
(C) Illustrating the importance of keeping lines of communication open between different offices within the same company
(D) Providing a chronological outline of the impact of a new business model.
(E) Reporting on a relatively recent phenomenon that has affected a variety of businesses

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E


According to the passage, some regional managers of the insurance company who had been given added autonomy _______.

(A) reported to the head office only when a crisis developed
(B) were afraid to overstep the traditional limitations of their decision-making authority
(C) only began to take initiative after receiving personal assurances from the company’s president
(D) depended on other regional managers for guidance and supervision
(E) misinterpreted the intent of the new system.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


Which of the following is most likely to be a result of a business implementing added autonomy?

(A) The average age of a manager varies considerably among the various regional offices of a nationwide publishing firm.
(B) A software manufacturer goes against the industry standard and intentionally doubles the time it takes to test new products before making them available to customers.
(C) One branch of a clothing store distributes flyers that show a map of the store’s location within the letters of the store’s name, though no other branch displays the store’s name this way.
(D) A media company’s president visits regional offices to meet with managers and offer face-to-face words of encouragement.
(E) The success of a motorcycle manufacturer’s sales team from one of its dealerships is published in the newsletter published by the company’s head office.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C


Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage?

(A) A problem is addressed, and then a solution is discussed through example and analysis.
(B) A phenomenon is described, and then general examples are given, followed by a specific example that is discussed in some depth.
(C) A business theory is outlined, and then several examples are given that show the inherent weakness of this theory.
(D) A specific business model is analyzed, and the reasoning behind the model is gradually revealed.
(E) The strengths of an idea are described and illustrated, followed by a description and illustration of the pitfalls of the idea.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


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Re: QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2016, 09:57
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Excellent Passage, here's a breakdown of my thinking:

1. The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

(A) Detailing the impact that a new business practice has had on several companies - there was actually one company that was exampled not several.
(B) Evaluating the unintended consequences of a shift in hiring and promoting practices at one representative business - there was no talks about hiring practices at the business, the passage mentions hiring as a challenge for those looking to 'pursue an “added autonomy” initiative.'
(C) Illustrating the importance of keeping lines of communication open between different offices within the same company - the passage doesn't suggest that its important to keep communications open
(D) Providing a chronological outline of the impact of a new business model. - the passage is not structured chronologically rather on a case basis
(E) Reporting on a relatively recent phenomenon that has affected a variety of businesses - yes, the passage does report about the phenomenon (autonomy) and talks ranges from high tech to a case "involving a company that offers automobile, homeowner, and office insurance"

Therefore the answer to question 1 is E.

2. According to the passage, some regional managers of the insurance company who had been given added autonomy _______.
(A) reported to the head office only when a crisis developed – there is nothing in the passage to conclude this
(B) were afraid to overstep the traditional limitations of their decision-making authority – yes as stated in the passage ‘At first, regional managers were wary of taking on too much self-governance, despite personal assurances from the company’s president. This hesitancy initially led to less initiative,’
(C) only began to take initiative after receiving personal assurances from the company’s president – this goes against the passage
(D) depended on other regional managers for guidance and supervision – while it passage states that it increased communication between regional managers, this takes it too far as to saying it went for guidance and supervision which isn’t the case.
(E) misinterpreted the intent of the new system. – there is nothing in the passage to conclude this either

Thus the answer is question 2 is B.

3. Which of the following is most likely to be a result of a business implementing added autonomy?
(A) The average age of a manager varies considerably among the various regional offices of a nationwide publishing firm. - age is irrelevant
(B) A software manufacturer goes against the industry standard and intentionally doubles the time it takes to test new products before making them available to customers. - even though the passage discusses issues with autonomy, it is not intentional for a company to spend more time
C) One branch of a clothing store distributes flyers that show a map of the store’s location within the letters of the store’s name, though no other branch displays the store’s name this way - this sounds about right as the company would look to differentiate itself from others with more autonomy and less control from the headquarters
D) A media company’s president visits regional offices to meet with managers and offer face-to-face words of encouragement. -while this could happen since it was mentioned in the study in paragraph 2, it doesn't mean it MUST happen at another business.
(E) The success of a motorcycle manufacturer’s sales team from one of its dealerships is published in the newsletter published by the company’s head office. - nothing in the passage suggests that the head office would do anything with the success of the regional offices. This is out of scope.

Thus the best answer question 3 is C.

4. Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage?

(A) A problem is addressed, and then a solution is discussed through example and analysis. – the passage does not offer any solution to any problem
(B) A phenomenon is described, and then general examples are given, followed by a specific example that is discussed in some depth. – this is correct. The first paragraph describes autonomy, then at the end of the paragraph 1 it talks about a general example of the high tech company. It then spends the next two paragraphs discussing a particular case study.
(C) A business theory is outlined, and then several examples are given that show the inherent weakness of this theory. – while a weakness is provided, not all the examples were weakness ie. Paragraph 2 discusses benefits
(D) A specific business model is analyzed, and the reasoning behind the model is gradually revealed. – the passage does not go into the reasoning for the model
(E) The strengths of an idea are described and illustrated, followed by a description and illustration of the pitfalls of the idea. –the pitfalls was described in paragraph 2 before the advantages so this can not be right

Thus the best answer to question 4 is B.

Please let me know if anything needs to be corrected and would like your input.

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Re: QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented [#permalink]

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1. The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

(A) Detailing the impact that a new business practice has had on several companies - Incorrect - The business practice is not new.
(B) Evaluating the unintended consequences of a shift in hiring and promoting practices at one representative business - Incorrect - Irrelevant
(C) Illustrating the importance of keeping lines of communication open between different offices within the same company - Incorrect - Passage is focused on decentralization of power.
(D) Providing a chronological outline of the impact of a new business model. - Incorrect - Irrelevant
(E) Reporting on a relatively recent phenomenon that has affected a variety of businesses - Correct. The passage introduces a recent phenomenon and provides examples to illustrate the effects.

Answer: E

2. According to the passage, some regional managers of the insurance company who had been given added autonomy _______.

Refer: " At first, regional managers were wary of taking on too much self-governance, despite personal assurances from the company’s president."

Answer: B

3. Which of the following is most likely to be a result of a business implementing added autonomy?

Only option C is in line with the passage. Other options deviate.

Answer: C

4. Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage?

(A) A problem is addressed, and then a solution is discussed through example and analysis. - Incorrect - Irrelevant
(B) A phenomenon is described, and then general examples are given, followed by a specific example that is discussed in some depth. - Correct
(C) A business theory is outlined, and then several examples are given that show the inherent weakness of this theory. - Incorrect - Passage is not limited to the weaknesses. Certain strengths are also highlighted in the passage.
(D) A specific business model is analyzed, and the reasoning behind the model is gradually revealed. - Incorrect - Irrelevant
(E) The strengths of an idea are described and illustrated, followed by a description and illustration of the pitfalls of the idea. - Incorrect - Strengths are not described and illustrated

Answer: B

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Re: QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2016, 06:55
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11 mins, all correct. Answers are well explained in above posts.
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Re: QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2016, 06:55
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QOTD #4 Over the last decade, a number of businesses have experimented

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