Directions (1- 10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below them. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
For years I kept a phrenology bust in my office. My colleagues had various reactions to it: some were amused; some were perplexed or even embarrassed. But it reminded us of the perils of junk science, proof that a little learning is a dangerous thing. Phrenology, the “science” of attributing one’s personality to cranial features, arose in the nineteenth century, at the dawn of the field of psychology. At that time, the notion of personality entered the popular mind and physiological foundations for personality, if not rigorously documented, seemed plausible. More than a century later, the field of psychobiology is booming, and phrenology has no place in it. The wheels of scientific study grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Discredited by the absence of rigorous theory or empirical evidence, phrenology was tossed into the dustbin. A lot of learning overcame the initial error caused by a little learning.
Every field has its equivalent to phrenology. Business is no exception. Business practitioners are pragmatists, prone to assume that what works is what works. Where markets function smoothly and there is open competition among ideas, pragmatism serves pretty well. But like phrenologists in an earlier day, pragmatists are occasionally seized by ideas that seem plausible and help to explain events in a limited arena but are backed by no evidence, sound logic, or general efficacy. Such ideas can do more harm than good. In my writing, I have criticized some of the modern-day phrenologies: conglomerate diversification, bigger is better, the merger of equals, and momentum management. The worst phrenologies of the twentieth century, Marxism and Nazism, taught us the evil consequence of failing to challenge humbug and to do so quickly.
But ideas mill about because of a little learning. Thomas Jefferson argued that the antidote to a little leaning is a lot of learning: “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” The key to Jefferson’s antidote is the liberality of one’s learning, the sampling of diverse ideas and facts. About 50 years ago, A. Whitney Griswold, president of Yale University, wrote, “The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.”
With alarm I note the educational trend toward narrow vocationalism, even in business schools. Business phrenologies breed in the back alleys of the field. Where thinking can get warped – The poster child here is Enron’s aggressive use of special purpose entities. Though the practitioner needs to be his or her own best teacher, business schools and institutes can help one get a lot of learning. At its best, the M.B.A. has stood for liberal training across the business specialties and for a graduate who can smell humbug and not be afraid to say so. Learning based on uncritical, rote memorization is no preparation for a career of action and risk taking but is exactly what your local phrenologist depends on. Instead, the learning that matter, requires testing and debate. That’s why discussion based education is so important: it exercises skills of analysis and argument. And it is why penetrating research is crucial. The humanistic tradition of transparent documentation, hypothesis testing, replication of experiments, and debate is the antidote to a little learning. And it is the source of ideas from academics that improve business practice, such as business ethics, linear programming, conjoint analysis, and theory of option pricing.
Do we need schools to help us learn? The internet has sprouted many degree programs. Aren’t these just as good as the program based in physical places? I do not think so, for at least two reasons. First, learning is deeper and richer when it occurs in a group. As T.S. Eliot said. “There is no life that is not lived in community.” Learning on the Internet remains a solitary experience. I doubt that the chat room can replace in-person peer coaching, challenge, and debate. Second, learning is better with a teacher. Raw ingredients and a good kitchen aren’t enough to make a great meal. Economist Paul Romer has argued that a good cooking requires the human elements of creativity and leadership. So it is with learning: the teacher’s creativity organizes the resources and leads the students to insight.
Disillusionment about the mission of business learning creates a downward spiral of poor engagement between practitioners and business schools. It’s a race to the bottom: practitioners ask less and less and the schools oblige. For instance, executives seem to want fewer days in training and less nuance, discussion and recollection. Corporate recruiters are demanding narrowly trained M.B.A.s exactly when we need liberally trained professionals. At the heart of each of the 22 business scandals that erupted between 1998 and 2002 lay a bad idea cradled by narrow, self-serving professionalism. The slump in corporate and individual philanthropy will chill the business learning that occurs through research, especially the challenging, provocative new work. Many schools, in turn, humbled by their financial problems and the business scandals, have hunkered down into a customer-service mentality, focusing on marketing and league tales. Rapid imitation, and toning down the mission of social criticism, testing and argument. Put this all together and it’s like a picture by Brueghel or Hogarth, in which people are leaving undone the things that ought to be done and doing the other.
Yes, I remain cautiously optimistic. The interface between business practice and the academy is a market of ideas. As Joseph Schumpeter wrote 62 years ago, free markets will self-correct, led by entrepreneurs, agents of charge who find their opportunities whatever they see room for improvement. Dissatisfaction with the race to the bottom will eventually spur agents of change – both scholars and thoughtful practitioners – to offer a better model for business learning.
Q1. Author compares phrenology with present day management education in business schools because
(a) management education prepares the students to take decisions on the basis of cranial features.
(b) both phrenology and management education prepares students to become pragmatists.
(c) management education is not preparing the students in the area of critically analyzing the modern-day business phrenologies.
(d) wheels of scientific study grind slowly and over a period of time phrenology has transitioned into management science.
(e) None of the above
Q2. Which of the following statement is false in the context of the passage?
(a) Author argues that little learning can lead to situation like that of Enron where aggressive use of special purpose entities resulted in mismanagement of the organization.
(b) Pragmatists are occasionally seized by ideas, e.g., conglomerate diversification, bigger is better, the merger of equals, etc., that seem plausible but are not backed by evidence, or logic.
(c) Ideas of Joseph Schumpeter are not applicable as they were not based on rigorous research.
(d) Learning is better with a teacher as it requires active involvement of teacher for organizing the resources and leading the students to develop insights.
(e) All of the above
Q3. Self-serving professionalism, as used in the passage, refers to
(a) professionalism for serving the cause of management
(b) professionalism of selfish people
(c) professionalism that excludes stakeholders
(d) Both (b) and (c)
(e) None of the above
Q4. If the author of this passage becomes director of a business school then he is likely to do which of the following?
(a) Invite practitioners from industry for guest lectures
(b) Stop summer internship for M.B.A. students
(c) Discontinue short term management education programmes
(d) both (a) and (c)
(e) All of the above
Q5. Author believes that business learning is required more than ever in present times because
(a) corporate recruiters are demanding narrowly trained business graduates (M.B.A.).
(b) business schools can teach modern-day business phrenlogies.
(c) slump in corporate and individual philanthropy, which has a negative impact on the financial conditions of business school, need to be corrected with the help of business education.
(d) business learning and penetrating research can provide ideas for improving business practices.
(e) None of the above
Q6. According to the author, business education should have
(a) high spread and low depth so as to create more generalists than specialists
(b) greater focus on requirements of corporate recruiters
(c) learning based on principles of falsification
(d) no role in today’s world as practitioner needs to be his or her own teacher
(e) All of the above
Q7. Which of the following will NOT be an apt title of this passage?
(a) Pathology of Management Education
(b) Management Education at Crossroads
(c) End of Executive MBA Education
(d) Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing
(e) All of the above
Q8. Which of the following words is the most nearest to the word ‘plausible’ used in the passage?
Q9. Which of the following words is the most farthest to the word ‘perplexed’ used in the passage?
Q10. Which of the following words is the most nearest to the word ‘hunkered down’ used in the passage?
Directions (11-15): Given below are seven sentences which may or may not be in sequence it is then followed by few questions. Rearrange the sentences and then answer the questions carefully.
(A) A quick look at everyday Indian politics and the debates in the press and elsewhere shows that the spirit of Gandhi is no more fully present in his native country.
(B) It is practically impossible to live in India and not to see or hear references to Gandhi.
(C) Gandhi is by far the most recognisable Indian put on currency notes.
(D) But this does not mean necessarily that Gandhi is well read and understood by all Indians.
(E) He is also honoured all over the country with statues erected in the middle of town squares and his pictures posted on the walls of business offices and shops, even restaurants.
(F) For Gandhi, recognition is the mechanism by which our democratic existence, as self-transformative beings, is generated.
Q11. Which one of the following does not belong to the theme of the paragraph after rearrangement (not a part of the coherent paragraph formed after the rearrangement)?
Q12. Which one of the following sentences can replace sentence (C) after rearrangement (excluding the correct option of Q96.)?
(a) Indians widely describe him as the father of the nation.
(b) Gandhi did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was nominated five times between 1937 and 1948.
(c) India, with its rapid economic modernisation and urbanisation, has rejected Gandhi’s economics
(d) A 5 hour, 9 minutes long biographical documentary film Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948, made by Vithalbhai Jhaveri
(e) His vision of a village-dominated economy was shunted aside during his lifetime as rural romanticism
Q13. Which one of the following statement comes next after the rearrangement?
(a) This statement of Gandhi has a particular relevance to the cultural situation in our globalised world.
(b) Though his name is pronounced by all politicians and managers but when it comes to his teachings Gandhi is considered an old-fashioned figure with his preference for an austere, simple lifestyle.
(c) In other words, this capacity to engage constructively with conflicting values is an essential component of practical wisdom and empathic pluralism of Gandhian non-violence.
(d) the Gandhian non-violent approach to plurality is a way of bridging differences and developing inter cultural awareness and understanding among individuals and nations.
(e) Gandhi’s image also appears on paper currency of all denominations issued by Reserve Bank of India, except for the one rupee note.
Q14. Which one of the following is the last sentence after rearrangement?
Q15. Which one of the following is the fourth sentence after rearrangement?
Practice More Questions of English for Competitive Exams:
S1. Ans. (c)
Sol. Refer the fourth paragraph of the passage “Learning based on uncritical, rote memorization is no preparation for a career of action and risk taking but is exactly what your local phrenologist depends on.”
S2. Ans. (b)
Sol. Refer the second paragraph of the passage. The examples of the ideas quoted in the option are, in fact, what the author has called modern- day phrenologies.
S3. Ans. (a)
Sol. Referring to the second last paragraph of the passage we can infer that Self-serving professionalism refers to professionalism for serving the cause of management.
S4. Ans. (d)
Sol. Refer the fourth paragraph of the passage. The author would rather emphasize the practical aspects of education like ‘hypothesis testing’; ‘replication of experiments’, ‘debate’.
S5. Ans. (d)
Sol. Refer the last paragraph of the passage. His motto is to bring about an improvement in business practices.
S6. Ans. (d)
Sol. Refer the fourth sentence of the fourth paragraph “Though the practitioner needs to be his or her own best teacher, business schools and institutes can help one get a lot of learning.”
S7. Ans. (c)
Sol. ‘End of Executive MBA Education’ will not be an apt title of this passage. The author does not wish an end, but adjustments.
S8. Ans. (d)
Sol. Plausible means seeming reasonable or probable. Hence it has similar meaning as ‘credible’.
S9. Ans. (c)
Sol. Perplexed means completely baffled, very puzzled, which is opposite to the meaning as ‘composed’.
S10. Ans. (c)
Sol. Hunkered down means hold resolutely or stubbornly to a policy, opinion, etc., when confronted by criticism, opposition, or unfavorable circumstances.
Sol. Statement (F) does not belong to the theme of the paragraph. The whole paragraph is about the achievements and honours of Gandhi except statement (F) which is describing about his views on building a democratic nation through recognition.
S12. Ans. (a)
Sol. Statement (C) is describing about the importance of Gandhi in the eyes of Indians. Therefore, from the given options only statement (a) is describing the similar characteristic of Gandhi, as he is referred the father of the nation. Other statements do not show the importance of Gandhi and thus, are eliminated.
S13. Ans. (b)
Sol. Option (b) is the correct choice. The correct sequence of the paragraph is BCEDA. The last sentence of the paragraph is stating about the current political scenario and Gandhi’s political policies in the country. Option (b) is continuing the last statement and further elaborating about the political practices of the country.
Sol. The sequence of the paragraph is BCEDA.
S15. Ans. (d)
Sol. The sequence of the paragraph is BCEDA. The conjunction ‘but’ is used to indicate a contrast between the current and the previous statement. In the beginning statements (B) (C) (E) are describing about the honours given to Gandhi. Thus, the next statement has to be statement (D) expressing a contrast from the earlier statements. Therefore, option (d) is the correct choice.
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