English Questions: Reading Comprehension Set – 35
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IBPS CWE (PO/MT) – 2014 Exam Question
The new economy has ushered in great business opportunities-and great turmoil. Most traditional organisations have accepted, in theory at least, that they must either change or die. Even giants such as eBay, Amazon.com, and America Online recognise that they need to manage the changes associated with rapid entrepreneurial growth. Despite some individual successes, however, change remains difficult to pull off, and few companies manage the process as well as they would like. Most of their initiatives-installing new technology, downsizing, restructuring, or trying to change corporate culture—have had low success rates. The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail.
In our experience, the reason for most of those failures is that in their rush to change their organisations, managers end up immersing themselves in an alphabet soup of initiatives. They lose focus and become mesmerised by all the advice available in print and online about why companies should change, what they should try to accomplish, and how they should do it. This proliferation of recomrnendations often leads to muddle when change is attempted. The result is that most change efforts exert a heavy toll, both human and economic. To improve the odds of success, and to reduce the human carnage, it is imperative that executives understand the nature and process of corporate change much better. But even that is not enough. Leaders need to crack the code of change.
For more than 40 years now, we have been studying the nature of corporate change. And although every business’s change initiative is unique, our research suggests there are two archetypes, or theories, of change. These archetypes are based on very different and often unconscious assumptions by senior executives-and the consultants and academics who advise them-about why and how changes should be made. Theory E is change based on economic value. Theory O is change based on organisational capability. Both are valid models; each theory of change acliieves some of management’s goals, either explicitly or implicitly. But each theory also has its costs often unexpected ones.
Theory E change strategies are the ones that make all the headlines. In this “hard” approach to change, shareholder value is the only legitimate measure of corporate success. Change usually involves heavy use of economic incentives, drastic layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring. E change strategies are more common than O change strategies among companies in the United States, where financial markets push corporate boards for rapid turnarounds. For instance, when WilliamAAnders was brought in as CEO of General Dynamics in 1991, his goal was to maxirnise economic value-however painful the remedies might be. Over the next three years, Anders reduced the workforce by 71,000 people 44,000 through the divestiture of seven businesses and 27,000 through layoffs and attrition. Anders employed common E strategies.
Managers who subscribe to Theory O believe that if they were to focus exclusively on the price of their stock, they might harm their organisations. In this “soft” approach to change, the goal is to develop corporate culture and human capability through individual and organisational learning-the process of changing, obtaining feedback, reflecting, and making further changes. US companies that adopt O strategies, as Hewlett-Packard did when its performance flagged in the
1980s, typically have strong, long-held, commitment-based psychological contracts with their employees. Managers at these companies are likely to see the risks in breaking those contracts. Because they place a high value on employee commitment, Asian and European businesses are also more likely to adopt an O strategy to change.
Few companies subscribe to just one theory. Most companies we have studied have used a mix of both. But all too often, managers try to apply theories E and O in tandem without resolving the inherent tensions between them. This impulse to combine the strategies is directionally correct, but theories E and O are so different that it’s hard to manage them sirnultaneously-employees distrust leaders who alternate between nurturing and cutthroat corporate behavior. Our research suggests, however, that there is a way to resolve the tension so that businesses can satisfy their shareholders while building viable institutions. Companies that effectively combine hard and soft approaches to change can reap big payoffs in profitability and productivity.
1. Which ofthe following is most nearly the OPPOSITE in meaning as the word LEGITIMATE as used in the passage?
2. Which of the following statements is TRUE in the context of the passage?
(1) Theory E strategies are more likely to be popular among orgnaisations of Asian countries.
(2) Quite often, organisations opt for either of the two theories of organisational change suggested by the author.
(3) Theory E change strategies focus more on maximising economic worth of an organisation.
(4) The theories of change mentioned by the author are based on tested methods.
(5) None of the given statements is true.
3. The author in the given passage focuses on the following EXCEPT
(1) change not as easy as it appears
(2) how to increase protability through organisational change
(3) bringing about successful organisational change
(4) hindrances in the process of organisational change
(5) theories explaining the dynamics of organisational change
4. In the context of the passage, which of the following could possibly be an effect(s) of adopting Theory E, on employees for bringing about organisational change?
(1) Employees become more attached with the organisation
(2) Insecurity among employees
(3) Improved morale of employees
(4) Employees resorting to malicious methods to get faster promotions
(5) All those given as options
5. According to the author, for organisational change to be successful
(1) executives must focus on understanding the process of change.
(2) organisations must be willing to excuse those involved in the change process, in case it is unsuccessful. (3) organisations must be willing to spend generously during the process.
(4) those involved in the change process must be given specialised training.
(5) None of the given options
6. As mentioned in the passage, despite best effects, many organisations fail to bring about a change because
(A) they lose track of important information between the huge amount of information available to them.
(B) they rarely change the roles assigned to employees throughout the change process.
(C) they tend to depend on a consultant, an outsider, who barely knows the culture of the organisation.
(1) Only (A)
(2) Only (B)
(3) Only (C)
(4) Both (A) and (B)
(5) Both (B) and (C)
7. Which of the following is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word ‘IMMERSING’ as used in the passage?
8. Which of the following is most nearly the OPPOSITE in meaning as the word ‘IMPERATIVE’ as’ used in the passage?
9. In the author’s view the best way to bring about organisational change is a blend of Theory E and O and this can be achieved through
(1) educating employees on the benefits of employing these theories.
(2) creating a specialised team of employees, thorough with these theories, for bringing about change
(3) motivating employees
(4) modelling successful change process of organisations that employed one of these theories.
(5) Other than those given as options
10. Which of the following is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word UNCONSCIOUS as used in the passage?