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QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers

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QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 4: Critical Reasoning


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Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex. Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker. But is this really true? What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?

(A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.

(B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.

(C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.

(D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.

(E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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Since the question stem refers to "the productivity measure described", let's make sure we understand what that means before analyzing the answer choices.

The passage states that postal workers "are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker". How is productivity being measured in this phrase? Only by the number of letters delivered (the output) per postal worker.

By asking, "But is this really true?", the author questions whether productivity of service workers can be measured solely by output per worker (or number of letters delivered per postal worker, in this case). This is the author's main objection. The author elaborates by asking, "What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?" In that scenario, the output is increased (more letters are delivered) but the overall quality of the services performed is sacrificed, since more letters are lost or delayed.

So what's the question asking us for? Well, the author's objection (about whether productivity of service workers can be measured solely by output per worker) is "based on doubts about the truth of" one of the answer choices. Let's take them one at a time.

Quote:
(A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.

The author questions whether productivity can be measured solely by output and simply uses postal workers as an example; the author does not question whether postal workers are in fact representative of service workers in general. So (A) is gone.

Quote:
(B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.

By saying that postal workers "are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker", the author gives an example of using output (number of letters delivered) to measure productivity. The author does NOT imply that this measure of productivity is flawed because delivery of letters is not the primary activity of the postal service. Instead, the author implies that this measure is flawed because it doesn't address the quality of the services (i.e., lost or delayed letters). So we can cross out (B), too.

Quote:
(C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.

The author's objection relates to how productivity is measured, not to whether it is ascribed to categories of workers or to individuals. Although the author does discuss a category of workers (postal workers), the author doesn't address whether productivity should be measured at the level of groups or individuals. We can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.

Remember that the author's main doubt is whether productivity can be measured solely by output per worker (i.e., number of letters delivered per postal worker, in this example). In the example about postal workers, the output per worker is increased, but quality of service declines. So in the passage, the author is clearly doubting whether quality can be appropriately ignored in computing productivity. So (D) looks good!

Quote:
(E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.

The author does not imply that the number of letters is not relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers; rather, the author objects to whether productivity can be measured by output alone. The author implies that other factors, such as quality of services rendered, should be considered in addition to output when measuring productivity. So we can get rid of (E).

And that leaves us with (D).
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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2017, 08:46
D. The author questions whether it is correct to focus only on quantity over quality

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2017, 08:49
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 4: Critical Reasoning


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Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex. Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker. But is this really true? What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?

(A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.

(B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.

(C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.

(D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.

(E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.


Hi,

The Q is very straight forward if you understand the para..

para :- para talks of delivery of letter as considered a measure of productivity..
But then questions NOT counting the late or lost deliveries..
If you understand what delay and loss constitute, ANSWER is right in front..
Delay and loss relate to QUALITY of service..


D talks of this and also is the answer..

Also "The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?" In a way tells you that the answer should be something the author wants to be incorporated.
With this as the basis of searching for the right choice, you can easily eliminate wrong choices.
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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2017, 03:04
I found the question stem a little weird in the first place. My take on the question -

Premise : Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex.
Supporting example : Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker.
Author's counterpoint : What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

Question stem : The counter-point opposes which of the following statements. In other ways what is the assumption the author is making here ?

Pre-thinking step : The premise talks about productivity being linked to quantity , whereas the counter point talks about qualitative aspect of productivity too. The missing link must be an option which talks about qualitative aspect and not the quantitative aspect.

POE :
a) Out of scope
b) whether or not it is a primary activity is not our concern. Hence out
c) Irrelevant
d) Talks about quality being secondary when compared to quantity. Is in line with our pre-thinking.Correct
e) Just reiterates the statement.

I marked e initially, but upon closer look I realised that d is the correct one.
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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2017, 08:54
I'd say this is an assumption question. We have to find the assumption that underlies the claim that some people make 'postal workers are more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker'. What is confusing is that the argument as a whole also opposes this claim.

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2017, 19:51
Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex. Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker. But is this really true? What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

Truth: Postal workers = Productive BUT lost letters? = Quality of services. We need to find an answer choice which has both of these points.

The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?

(A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.
As an assumption this is fine. But they are asking about the truth, that is the deeper assumption about productivity.

(B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.
It can be a secondary act, and it doesn't affect us at all.

(C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.
Even if we categorize it, how will change the computing of productivity.?

(D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.
Now this covers both of my points.

(E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.
Tempting answer but it only covers one part of the truth. Not both.

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2017, 21:31
Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers is complex. Consider, for example, postal workers: they are often said to be more productive if more letters are delivered per postal worker. But is this really true? What if more letters are lost or delayed per worker at the same time that more are delivered?

The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?

(A) Postal workers are representative of service workers in general.

(B) The delivery of letters is the primary activity of the postal service.

(C) Productivity should be ascribed to categories of workers, not to individuals.

(D) The quality of services rendered can appropriately be ignored in computing productivity.

(E) The number of letters delivered is relevant to measuring the productivity of postal workers.


Error Analysis:


The argument says that the number of letters delivered=productivity is not the only thing that has to be taken into account. He does that by pointing out that quality of the service is not to be considered in that scenario.

Only Option D holds true to weaken the conclusion.

Answer : D

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2017, 04:40
Hi GMATNinja

I could not understand the q stem, but was with you on argument understanding.

Quote:
So what's the question asking us for? Well, the author's objection (about whether productivity of service workers can be measured solely by output per worker) is "based on doubts about the truth of" one of the answer choices. Let's take them one at a time.


Is this a weaken Q? Presenting my understanding of
Quote:
The objection implied above to the productivity measure described is based on doubts about the truth of which of the following statements?


The objection (in the argument) ... is based on doubts ... (which of below statements casts maximum doubt on the said objection)

Is this an assumption Q as kivalo pointed out?
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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2017, 19:53
this question type is not new. I call it the flow of logic type. This type should belong to the special-type question, or other types of question.

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Re: QOTD: Correctly measuring the productivity of service workers   [#permalink] 22 Sep 2017, 19:53
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