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.
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.
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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 semi-electronic 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?”
Q1. 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
Q2. 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.
Q3. 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.
Q4. 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.
Q5. 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.
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Q6. The author of the passage uses the expression “are supposed to” in order to
(a) suggest that a contention made by constructivists regarding determinists is inaccurate
(b) define 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
Q7. Which of the following word is most nearest to the word ‘construe’ used in the passage?
Q8. Which of the following is the most farthest to the word ‘encompasses’ used in the passage?
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Q9. Which of the following is the most farthest to the word ‘refutes’ used in the passage?
Q10. Which of the following is the most nearest to the word ‘negotiated’ used in the passage?
Directions (11-15): In each of the question given below a/an idiom/phrase is given in bold which is then followed by five options which then tries to decipher its meaning as used in the sentence. Choose the option which gives the meaning of the phrase most appropriately in context of the given sentence.
Q11. After two hours spent wandering in the snow, I realized we were on a wild goose chase.
(b) futile search
(c) fruitful errand
(d) target completion
(e) fecund emulation
Q12. The student was on thin ice because he was absent from class too many times.
(e) at risk
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Q13. Often the interviewer will need to play devil’s advocate in order to get a discussion going.
Q14. She threw caution to the wind and married him even though she knew he was a professional thief.
Q15. Frances took her daughter walking every day, rain or shine.
S1. Ans. (c)
Sol. The primary purpose of the passage is to consider a successful challenge to the constructivist view of technological change. The passage discusses how Jon Clark’s technological determinism has countered successfully the postulates of social constructivism.
S2. Ans. (c)
Sol. Refer the last paragraph of the passage “At the empirical level Clark shows 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.”
S3. Ans. (b)
Sol. Refer the first few lines of second paragraph “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.”
S4. Ans. (a)
Sol. Refer the third paragraph of the passage “The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization.”
S5. Ans. (b)
Sol. Refer the second sentence of the second paragraph “technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization.”
S6. Ans. (a)
Sol. Refer the first sentence of the third paragraph, “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. “
S7. Ans. (e)
Sol. Construe means interpret (a word or action) in a particular way, which is similar to ‘elucidate.
S8. Ans. (a)
Sol. Encompasses means cause to take place, which is opposite in meaning to release.
S9. Ans. (d)
Sol. Refute means prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disprove is opposite in meaning to embrace.
S10. Ans. (e)
Sol. Negotiated means obtain or bring about by discussion. Hence it has similar meaning to arrange.
S11. Ans. (b)
Sol. The idiom ‘a wild goose chase’ means a search that is completely unsuccessful and a waste of time because the person or thing being searched for does not exist or is somewhere else. Therefore, the phrase “futile search” perfectly depicts the context of the idiom. All the other phrases fail to provide the meaning of the given idiom. Hence, option (b) is the most suitable answer choice.
Exuberant means full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness.
Fruitfulerrand means a short successful journey
Fecundemulation means producing many achievable ideas
S12. Ans. (e)
Sol. The idiom ‘on thin ice’ means in a precarious or risky situation. Therefore, the word “at risk” perfectly reflects the meaning of the idiom. All the other phrases fail to provide the meaning of the given idiom hence, option (e) is the most suitable answer choice.
Relaxed means free from tension and anxiety.
Tortured means inflict severe pain on.
Skated means move on ice skates or roller skates in a gliding fashion.
S13. Ans. (a)
Sol. Option (a) is the correct answer choice. ‘devil’s advocate’ means someone who pretends, in an argument or discussion, to be against an idea or plan that a lot of people support, in order to make people discuss and consider it in more detail. Therefore, the word ‘sophism is perfectly depicting the meaning of the given idiom. ‘Sophism’ means a clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive. All the other words fail to express the meaning of the given idiom.
Exhibit means manifest clearly (a quality or a type of behaviour).
Consort means habitually associate with (someone), typically with the disapproval of others.
Opine means hold and state as one’s opinion.
Counsel means give advice to (someone).
S14. Ans. (b)
Sol. Option (b) is the correct answer choice. ‘throw caution to the wind’ means to do something without worrying about the risk or negative results. Therefore, the word ‘riskily’ is perfectly depicting the meaning of the given idiom. ‘riskily’ is an adverb which means the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen. All the other words fail to express the meaning of the given idiom.
Deliberately means consciously and intentionally; on purpose.
Decisively means in a manner that settles an issue convincingly or produces a definite result.
Trickily means (of a task, problem, etc.) requiring care and skill because difficult or awkward.
S15. Ans. (c)
Sol. Option (c) is the correct answer choice. ‘rain or shine’ means to do it regularly, without being affected by the weather or other circumstances. Therefore, the word ‘regardless’ is perfectly depicting the meaning of the given idiom. ‘Regardless’ is an adverb which means despite the prevailing circumstances. All the other words fail to express the meaning of the given idiom.
Extravagant means lacking restraint in spending money or using resources.
Inaccurate means not accurate
Improvident means not having or showing foresight; spendthrift or thoughtless.
Considerate means careful not to inconvenience or harm others.
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