Question: Henderson rarely visited the area around Press estate when he was younger.
– Press estate = in the area
– when he was younger = his childhood
– visited = spent
Explain: We should look for the piece of information related to Press estate, using the skim and scan skill. It can be found in the first paragraph. It is stated that Alexander (Henderson) “spent much of his childhood in the area”, which means he often stayed in the Press estate when he was younger. This is contradictory to the above statement. Therefore, it is FALSE.
Question: Henderson pursued a business career because it was what his family wanted.
– pursued a business career = … to become an accountant
– because it was what his family wanted = to please his family
Explain: In paragraph 2, it is mentioned that Henderson “never liked the prospect of a business career” but “stayed with it to please his family”. This means that he only pursued a business career because his family wanted him to do so. Thus, it is clear that the statement is TRUE.
3. NOT GIVEN
Question: Henderson and Notman were surprised by the results of their 1865 experiment.
Keywords: Henderson, Notman, surprised, results, 1865, experiment
Explain: We should look for the year 1865 in the passage, which is in paragraph 3. Here, we know that Henderson and Notman carried out an experiment with magnesium flares. There is no reference, however, to the results of the experiment or about the men’s reaction towards such results. The information is not given.
Question: There were many similarities between Henderson’s early landscapes and those of Notman.
Keywords: many, similarities, Henderson’s, early, landscapes, Notman
Explain: The comparison between Henderson’s and Notman’s landscapes can be
5. NOT GIVEN
Question: The studio that Henderson opened in 1866 was close to his home.
Keywords: studio, Henderson, opened, 1866, close, home
Explain: We should look for the year 1866 in the passage. It can be easily found in the first sentence of paragraph 5, where it is stated that Henderson opened a studio. But the author does not mention anything about its location or the distance from the studio to Henderson’s home, so the statement is NOT GIVEN.
Question: Henderson gave up portraiture so that he could focus on taking photographs of scenery.
– gave up = dropped
– focus on = specialize in
– taking photographs of scenery = landscape photography and other views
Explain: In the following sentence in paragraph 5, it is mentioned that “he dropped portraiture to specialize in landscape photography and other views”. The word “specialize” implies that he wanted to focus his efforts on only one kind of photography, so this statement is TRUE.
Question: When Henderson began work for the Intercolonial Railway, the Montreal to Halifax line had been finished.
Keywords: began, work, Intercolonial Railway, Montreal to Halifax line, finished = completed
Explain: Using the skim and scan skill, we can locate the phrase “Intercolonial Railway” in the middle of paragraph 7, then we read from there. In 1875, there was “a commission from the railway” to Henderson to record structures along the Montreal to Halifax line, which can be considered his work for the Intercolonial Railway. It is said that the line is “almost-completed”, suggesting that at the time it had not been finished yet. Therefore, the statement is FALSE.
Question: Henderson’s last work as a photographer was with the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Keywords: last, work, photographer, Canadian Pacific Railway
Explain: “Canadian Pacific Railway” (CPR) is mentioned in the last sentence of paragraph 7 and the entire paragraph 8. It is stated that Henderson took photos along the railway in summer 1892, and he continued until 1897 before retiring completely from photography. Thus, it can be understood that his last photography work (before retiring) was with the CPR. The statement is TRUE.
Question: was born in Scotland in 1831 – father was a 9…………….
– Was born in Scotland in 1831
– father was a = the son of a
Explain: In the first sentence of the passage, it is stated that Henderson was “the son of a successful merchant”. In other words, his father was a successful merchant. Because we can only write ONE WORD, the answer should be “merchant”.
Question: people bought Henderson’s photos because photography took up considerable time and the 10…………. was heavy
– took up considerable time = time-consuming
– heavy = the weight of
Explain: In paragraph 5, we know that there was a demand for Henderson’s landscape photos. People bought his photos because “there was little competing hobby or amateur photography”, suggesting that at the time, not many people took photographs. Henderson, therefore, did not have much competition from amateur photographers or people who took photographs for a hobby. There are two reasons for this: “time-consuming techniques” and the “weight of the equipment”. The former can be understood as “taking up considerable time”, and the latter as “heavy equipment”. Thus, the answer is “equipment”.
Question: the photographs Henderson sold were 11……………. or souvenirs Travelling.
– the photographs Henderson sold = buy photographs
– souvenirs travelling = souvenirs of a trip
Explain: Still in paragraph 5, it is stated that “people wanted to buy photographs as souvenirs of a trip or as gifts”. Therefore, it is clear that the blank should be filled with “gifts”.
Question: took many trips along eastern rivers in a 12………….
– Took many trips = often travelled
– Along eastern rivers = …and other noted eastern rivers
Explain: We can use the first point in “travelling as a professional photographer” as a cue: it is stated in the first sentence of paragraph 7. Subsequently, “eastern rivers” are mentioned, as Henderson “often travelled by canoe” on these rivers. Thus, the answer is “canoe”.
Question: worked for CPR in 1885 and photographed the 13……….. and the railway at Rogers Pass
Keywords: photographed the = tool photographs of the
Explain: As we have learned in question 8, the information about Henderson’s work for CPR can be found in paragraph 7 and 8. The year 1885 is mentioned in paragraph 7, so we should read from there. It is stated that he took photos of “the mountains and the progress of construction” at Rogers Pass. The construction here refers to that of the railway, so the remaining item is “mountains”, which is the answer.
Alexander Henderson (1831-1913)
Born in Scotland, Henderson emigrated to Canada in 1855 and become a well-known landscape photographer
Alexander Henderson was born in Scotland in 1831 and was the son of a successful merchant (Q9). His grandfather, also called Alexander, had founded the family business, and later became the first chairman of the National Bank of Scotland. The family had extensive landholding in Scotland. Besides its residence in Edinburgh, it owned Press Estate, 650 acres of farmland about 35 miles southeast of the city. The family often stayed at Press Castle, the large mansion on the northern edge of the property, and Alexander spent much of his childhood in the area, playing on the beach near Eyemouth or fishing in the streams nearby (Q1).
Even after he went to school at Murcheston Academy on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Henderson returned to Press at weekends. In 1849 he began a three-year apprenticeship to become an accountant. Although he never liked the prospect of a business career, he stayed with it to please his family (Q2). In October 1855, however, he emigrated to Canada with his wife Agnes Elder Robertson and they settled in Montreal.
Henderson learned photography in Montreal around the year 1857 and quickly took it up as a serious amateur. He became a personal friend and colleague of the Scottish – Canadian photographer William Notman. The two men made a photographic excursion to Niagara Falls in 1860 and they cooperated on experiments with magnesium flares as a source of artificial light in 1865 (Q3). They belonged to the same societies and were among the founding members of the Art Association of Montreal. Henderson acted as chairman of the association’s first meeting, which was held in Notman’s studio on 11 January 1860.
In spite of their friendship, their styles of photography were quite different (Q4). While Notman’s landscapes were noted for their bold realism, Henderson for the first 20 years of his career produced romantic images, showing the strong influence of the British landscape tradition. His artistic and technical progress was rapid and in 1865 he published his first major collection of landscape photographs. The publication had limited circulation (only seven copies have ever been found), and was called Canadian Views and Studies. The contents of each copy vary significantly and have proved a useful source for evaluating Henderson’s early work.
In 1866, he gave up his business to open a photographic studio, advertising himself as a portrait and landscape photographer (Q5). From about 1870 he dropped portraiture to specialize in landscape photography and other views (Q6). His numerous photographs of city life revealed in street scenes, houses, and markets are alive with human activity, and although his favourite subject was landscape he usually composed his scenes around such human pursuits as farming the land, cutting ice on a river, or sailing down a woodland stream. There was sufficient demand for these types of scenes and others he took depicting the lumber trade, steamboats and waterfalls to enable him to make a living. There was little competing hobby or amateur photography before the late 1880s because of the time-consuming techniques involved and the weight of equipment (Q10). People wanted to buy photographs as souvenirs of a trip or as gifts, and catering to this market, Henderson had stock photographs on display at his studio for mounting, framing, or inclusion in albums (Q11).
Henderson frequently exhibited his photographs in Montreal and abroad, in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, New York, and Philadelphia. He met with greater success in 1877 and 1878 in New York when he won first prizes in the exhibition held by E and H T Anthony and Company for landscapes using the Lamber type process. In 1878 his work won second prize at the world exhibition in Paris.
In the 1890s and 1880s Henderson travelled widely throughout Quebec and Ontario, in Canada, documenting the major cities of the two provinces and many of the villages in Quebec. He was especially fond of the wilderness and often travelled by canoe on the Blanche, du Lièvre, and other noted eastern rivers (Q12). He went on several occasions to the Maritimes and in 1872 he sailed by yacht along the lower north shore of the St Lawrence River. That same year, while in the lower St Lawrence River region, he took some photographs of the construction of the Intercolonial Railway. This undertaking led in 1875 to a commission from the railway to record the principal structures along the almost-completed line connecting Montreal to Halifax (Q7). Commissions from other railways followed. In 1876 he photographed bridges on the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway between Montreal and Ottawa. In 1885 he went west along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as far as Rogers Pass in British Columbia, where he took photographs of the mountains and the progress of construction (Q13).
In 1892 Henderson accepted a full-time position with the CPR as manager of a photographic department which he was to set up and administer. His duties included spending four months in the field each year (Q8). That summer he made his second trip west, photographing extensively along the railway line as far as Victoria. He continued in this post until 1897, when he retired completely from photography.
When Henderson died in 1913, his huge collection of glass negatives was stored in the basement of his house. Today collections of his work are held at the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, and the McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal.
Question: why some people avoided hospitals in the 19th century
Keywords: why, avoided, hospitals, 19th century, avoid = steer clear of
Explain: Information about 19th century hospitals can be found in paragraphs D, E and F. Paragraphs D and E discuss the designs and performance of hospitals in the 19th century, but we are looking for a reason why people avoided hospitals. Paragraph F mentions that “the prosperous steered clear of hospitals”. “The prosperous” refers to rich people, and can be called “some people”. The phrasal verb “steer clear of” means “keep away from”, or in other words, “avoid”. Therefore, the reason why some people avoided hospitals in the 19thcentury was “hospital fever”. The correct answer is F.
Question: a suggestion that the popularity of tall buildings is linked to prestige
– is linked to = as symbols of
– prestige = status
– Tall buildings = skyscrapers
Explain: In paragraph C, the author says that skyscrapers are symbols of status and not practical, implying that skyscrapers (tall buildings) are popular these days because people associate them with status, or prestige. Therefore, the answer is C.
Question: a comparison between the circulation of air in a 19th-century building and modern standards
Keywords: Comparison: similar to, Circulation of air = air changes
Explain: In paragraph E: “19th century hospital wards could… – that’s similar to the performance of a modern-day operating theatre”. The word “similar” suggests a comparison, and “modern-day operating theatre” can be understood as modern standards. This sentence discusses the capacity of buildings to generate air changes, which is the circulation of air inside a building. Thus, this sentence is a comparison between the circulation of air in 19th century hospitals and modern buildings. The correct paragraph is E.
Question: how Short tested the circulation of air in a 19th century building
Keywords: Short, tested, 19th–century, building, circulation of air = ventilation
Explain: We can find information about Short’s test in paragraph D. His test was “to put pathogens in the airstreams” of a 19th century hospital. He found that “the ventilation systems in the room would have kept other patients safe from harm”. This means that he tested the circulation of air in the hospital (of 19th century).
Question: an implication that advertising led to the large increase in the use of air conditioning
– advertising = marketed
– The large increase in use = the widespread introduction of
Explain: Paragraph B mentions the “widespread introduction of air conditioning systems”, which is the result of marketing by their inventors. Therefore, it can be paraphrased that advertising led to the large increase in the use of air conditioning.
Question: Professor Alan Short examined the work of John Shaw Billings, who influenced the architectural 19………… of hospitals to ensure they had good ventilation.
- John Shaw Billings … of hospitals to ensure they had good ventilation = of ingeniously ventilated hospitals
- Have good ventilation = get fresh air
Explain: The part containing information about John Shaw Billings (JSB) can be found in paragraph D. The first sentence mentions that Short’s book “highlights” the art and science of ventilating buildings, including a study of the designs of JSB for a hospital in Baltimore in the 19th century. This suggests that in order to publish the book, Short must have had examined JSB’s work. Later, in the last sentence of paragraph E, Short describes JSB’s designs and other designs of 19th century buildings, stating that “up to half the volume of the building was given over to ensuring everyone got fresh air”. Therefore, the answer is “designs”.
20. pathogens, 21. tuberculosis
Question: He calculated that 20……….. in the air coming from patients suffering from 21……….. would not have harmed other patients.
– in the air = in the airstreams
– coming from = modelled for
– Patients suffering from… = someone with
– Would not have harmed other patients = would have kept other patients safe from harm
– In the last sentence of paragraph D, Short explained his findings: “We put pathogens in the airstreams, modeled for someone with tuberculosis … the ventilation systems in the room would have kept other patients safe from harm”. So, patients with tuberculosis (TB) would release pathogens in the air when they coughed – these minute organisms would harm other patients unless there was good ventilation. Short modeled this in his experiment. The answer for 20 is “pathogens”.
– The purpose of this experiment was to test whether the system could prevent TB pathogens from spreading. Therefore, it is clear that answer for question 21 would be “tuberculosis”.
Question: He also found that the air in 22……….. in hospitals could change as often as in a modern operating theatre.
- He also found that = we discovered that
- Could change = generate up to 24 air changes
- as often as = that’s similar to
- modern operating theatre = modern-day, computer-controlled operating theatre.
Explain: The first sentence of paragraph E states that “19th-century hospital wards could generate up to 24 air changes an hour – that’s similar to the performance of a modern-day, computer-controlled operating theatre”. This means that the air in hospitals wards could change as often as in a modern operating theatre. Thus, the word in the blank is “wards”.
Question: He suggests that energy use could be reduced by locating more patients in 23…………… areas.
– Areas = wards
– Energy use could be reduced = at a fraction of the energy cost
– at a fraction of the energy cost = at a very low price
Explain: In the middle of paragraph E, Short states that communal wards “would work just as well…at a fraction of the energy cost”. “Communal wards” imply that more than one patient is located in each ward. “Fraction” implies that energy cost would be reduced, because less energy would be used. Therefore, the answer is “communal” areas.
24. public, 25. Miasmas
Question: A major reason for improving ventilation in 19th century hospitals was the demand from the 24………….. for protection against bad air, known as 25…………..
– A major reason for improving ventilation in 19th century hospitals = Much of the ingenuity present in 19th-century hospital and building design
– Demand = clamour for
– from the = was driven by a
– For protection against = could protect against
– Bad air = toxic air
Explain: The first sentence of paragraph F states that much of the ventilation demand was “driven by a panicked public clamouring for buildings that could protect against … miasmas – toxic air that spread disease”. The phrasal verb “clamour for” means “demand or request something passionately”. In this context, it can be understood that the public demanded proper ventilation to protect them from toxic air (or “bad air”) known as miasmas. Thus, the answers are “public” and “miasmas”, respectively.
Question: These were blamed for the spread of disease for hundreds of years, including epidemics of 26…………… in London and Paris in the middle of the 19th century.
– Hundreds of years = centuries
– Epidemics = outbreaks
– In London and Paris
– Spread of disease = spread of infection
– In the middle of the 19th century = from the Middle Ages
Explain: The following sentence states that miasmas were feared as the cause of disease and epidemics for centuries. The author also names two epidemics: the Middle Ages infection and the cholera outbreaks in London and Paris in the 1850s (or mid-19th century). The latter is the information we need, so the answer is “cholera”.
Back to the future of skyscraper design
Answers to the problem of excessive electricity use by skyscrapers and large public buildings can be found in ingenious but forgotten architectural designs of the 19th and early-20th centuries
The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture by Professor Alan Short is the culmination of 30 years of research and award-winning green building design by Short and colleagues in Architecture, Engineering, Applied Maths and Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
‘The crisis in building design is already here,’ said Short. ‘Policy makers think you can solve energy and building problems with gadgets. You can’t. As global temperatures continue to rise, we are going to continue to squander more and more energy on keeping our buildings mechanically cool until we have run out of capacity.’
Short is calling for a sweeping reinvention of how skyscrapers and major public buildings are designed – to end the reliance on sealed buildings which exist solely via the ‘life support’ system of vast air conditioning units.
Instead, he shows it is entirely possible to accommodate natural ventilation and cooling in large buildings by looking into the past, before the widespread introduction of air conditioning systems, which were ‘relentlessly and aggressively marketed’ by their inventors (Q18).
Short points out that to make most contemporary buildings habitable, they have to be sealed and air conditioned. The energy use and carbon emissions this generates is spectacular and largely unnecessary. Buildings in the West account for 40-50% of electricity usage, generating substantial carbon emissions, and the rest of the world is catching up at a frightening rate. Short regards glass, steel and air-conditioned skyscrapers as symbols of status, rather than practical ways of meeting our requirements (Q15).
Short’s book highlights a developing and sophisticated art and science of ventilating buildings through the 19th and earlier-20th centuries, including the design of ingeniously ventilated hospitals. Of particular interest were those built to the designs of John Shaw Billings, including the first Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US city of Baltimore (1873-1889) (Q19).
‘We spent three years digitally modelling Billings’ final designs,’ says Short. ‘We put pathogens* in the airstreams, modelled for someone with tuberculosis (TB) coughing in the wards and we found the ventilation systems in the room would have kept other patients safe from harm (Q17 Q20 Q21).
‘We discovered that 19th-century hospital wards could generate up to 24 air changes an hour – that’s similar to the performance of a modern-day, computer-controlled operating theatre (Q16 Q22). We believe you could build wards based on these principles now.
Single rooms are not appropriate for all patients. Communal wards appropriate for certain patients – older people with dementia, for example – would work just as well in today’s hospitals, at a fraction of the energy cost.’ (Q23)
Professor Short contends the mindset and skill-sets behind these designs have been completely lost, lamenting the disappearance of expertly designed theatres, opera houses, and other buildings where up to half the volume of the building was given over to ensuring everyone got fresh air.
Much of the ingenuity present in 19th-century hospital and building design was driven by a panicked public clamouring for buildings that could protect against what was thought to be the lethal threat of miasmas – toxic air that spread disease (Q24 Q25). Miasmas were feared as the principal agents of disease and epidemics for centuries, and were used to explain the spread of infection from the Middle Ages right through to the cholera outbreaks in London and Paris during the 1850s (Q26). Foul air, rather than germs, was believed to be the main driver of ‘hospital fever’, leading to disease and frequent death. The prosperous steered clear of hospitals (Q14).
While miasma theory has been long since disproved, Short has for the last 30 years advocated a return to some of the building design principles produced in its wake.
Today, huge amounts of a building’s space and construction cost are given over to air conditioning. ‘But I have designed and built a series of buildings over the past three decades which have tried to reinvent some of these ideas and then measure what happens.
‘To go forward into our new low-energy, low-carbon future, we would be well advised to look back at design before our high-energy, high-carbon present appeared. What is surprising is what a rich legacy we have abandoned.’
Successful examples of Short’s approach include the Queen’s Building at De Montfort University in Leicester. Containing as many as 2,000 staff and students, the entire building is naturally ventilated, passively cooled and naturally lit, including the two largest auditoria, each seating more than 150 people. The award-winning building uses a fraction of the electricity of comparable buildings in the UK.
Short contends that glass skyscrapers in London and around the world will become a liability over the next 20 or 30 years if climate modelling predictions and energy price rises come to pass as expected.
He is convinced that sufficiently cooled skyscrapers using the natural environment can be produced in almost any climate. He and his team have worked on hybrid buildings in the harsh climates of Beijing and Chicago – built with natural ventilation assisted by back-up air conditioning – which, surprisingly perhaps, can be switched off more than half the time on milder days and during the spring and autumn.
Short looks at how we might reimagine the cities, offices and homes of the future. Maybe it’s time we changed our outlook.
* pathogens: microorganisms that can cause disease
vi What people are increasingly expected to do
– Are increasingly expected to do = are told that we ought to
– What = organise our company, our home life, our week, our day and even our sleep, …
– This section describes the popular opinion, or belief, that we ought to organize everything in our life to become more productive. Part of this can be considered “recommendations concerning business activities” (heading iii), but it also concerns other aspects of life besides work. In addition, this practice has only been widespread in recent times, not “early” times, so iii cannot be the answer.
– The most suitable heading would be vi – What people are increasingly expected to do. More “than at any other time in human history”, “We are told that we ought to organise our company, our home life, our week, our day and even our sleep…” So, increasingly (more than at any other time), people are told to (= they are expected to) become more organised.
i Complaints about the impact of a certain approach
– Complaints = claim to be dissatisfied with
– The impact of a certain approach = the way their work is structured and the way they are managed
Explain: While section A introduces the structured and organised approach to our lives, section B mentions its drawbacks. “A large proportion of workers…claimed to be dissatisfied with the way their work is structured and the way they are managed”. So i – Complaints about the impact of a certain approach is the correct answer.
iii Early recommendations concerning business activities
Explain: Section C is about the history of the science of management, with Frederick Taylor being one of the pioneers in the early part of the 20th century. So the only appropriate heading for this would be iii – Early recommendations concerning business activities.
ii Fundamental beliefs that are in fact incorrect
– Fundamental beliefs = basic assumptions (that order is a necessary condition for productivity)
– Are in fact incorrect = is misguided
Explain: This section discusses the “misguided” assumptions about efficiency. The emphasis on order has led to people’s efforts to become organised without understanding that organisation does not always bring increased productivity. These basic assumptions can be considered “fundamental beliefs that are in fact incorrect”. Thus, the answer is ii.
ix Evidence that a certain approach can have more disadvantages than advantages.
– Evidence = recent studies
– A certain approach = order
– More disadvantages than advantages = has diminishing returns
Explain: Section E mentions the term “diminishing returns” of order, which basically means that the disadvantages of organising may eventually outweigh the advantages at some point: “if the cost of formally structuring something outweighs the benefit of doing it, then that thing ought not to be formally structured”. This has been shown in recent studies, so there is evidence behind this. Thus, the correct heading is ix – Evidence that a certain approach can have more disadvantages than advantages.
vii How to achieve outcomes that are currently impossible.
Keywords: Are currently impossible = would never be reached
Explain: This section suggests that “the best approach is to create an environment devoid of structure”, which “can lead to new solutions that, under conventionally structured environments, would never be reached”. This implies that a new approach can achieve outcomes that are impossible under the current practice (a conventionally structured environment). The answer is vii.
iv Organisations that put a new approach into practice.
Explain: Section G discusses the new approach – disorganisation, which has been embraced by many companies: Google, General Electric, Oticon, etc. Thus, the heading for this section is iv – Organisations that put a new approach into practice.
– Organisations = companies
– Put into practice = embrace
viii Neither approach guarantees continuous improvement
Explain: This section warns readers that “…disorder, much like order, also seems to have diminishing utility, and can also have detrimental effects on performance if overused”. Therefore, they should only be used “so far as it is useful”. So the only appropriate heading for this is viii – Neither approach guarantees continuous improvement.
Question: Numerous training sessions are aimed at people who feel they are not ……………….. enough.
– Numerous training sessions = countless seminars and workshops management, project management and self-organisation
– Feel they are not …enough = to becoming more…
Explain: Section A mentions “countless seminars and workshops”, which can also be called “numerous training sessions”, that help people to organise better, and hence become more productive. Thus, it can be inferred that these are aimed to help people who are not productive enough. The answer is “productive”.
Question: Being organised appeals to people who regard themselves as …………..
– Who regard themselves as = self-proclaimed
– Appeals to = much to the delight of
– Being organised = to get everything right
Explain: The last paragraph of section A suggests that the idea of organising everything has become popular among business leaders and entrepreneurs, “much to the delight of” perfectionists. This means that being organised appeals to perfectionists. So the answer is “perfectionists”.
Question: Many people feel …………. with aspects of their work.
– Many people = a large proportion of workers
– Feel = claim to be
– With aspects of their work = with the way their work is structured and the way they are managed
Explain: Section B mentions that “a large proportion of workers…claimed to be dissatisfied” with two aspects of their work: the way it is structured and the way they are managed. Therefore, the answer is “dissatisfied”.
Question: Both businesses and people aim at order without really considering its value.
– Both businesses and people = businesses and people
– Aim at order = spend time and money organizing themselves for the sake of organizing
– Without really consider = rather than actually looking at its value = the end goal and usefulness of such an effort
Explain: We can find information concerning “businesses and people” in the last sentence of section D: they “spend time and money organising” rather than actually “looking at the usefulness of such an effort”. So businesses and people aim to be organised (aim at order), but they do not really consider its usefulness (value). Thus, it is clear that the statement is TRUE.
Question: Innovation is most successful if the people involved have distinct roles.
– Innovation = innovating
– Is most successful = the best approach
– If the people involved = enable everyone involved
– Have disctinct # engage as one organic group
Explain: By using the skim and scan skill, we find that “innovation” is mentioned in the first sentence of section F. Here, it is stated that “the best approach is to create an environment devoid of structure and hierarchy”. This means that innovation is most successful when people are involved as the whole group, rather than as distinct roles found in a structure and hierarchy. Thus, this statement is FALSE.
40. NOT GIVEN
Question: Google was inspired to adopt flexibility by the success of General Electric.
Keywords: Google, inspired, adopt, flexibility, success, General Electric
Explain: The last paragraph of section G contains information about General Electric and Google. It is mentioned that both of them have embraced disorganisation, or flexibility, in their companies. However, the author does not mention anything about General Electric’s success or the relation between Google and General Electric. So we cannot say that Google adopted flexibility because of General Electric. The answer is NOT GIVEN.
Why companies should welcome disorder
Organisation is big business. Whether it is of our lives – all those inboxes and calendars – or how companies are structured, a multi-billion dollar industry helps to meet this need.
We have more strategies for time management, project management and self-organisation than at any other time in human history. We are told that we ought to organize our company, our home life, our week, our day and seven our sleep, all as a means to becoming more productive (Q27). Every week, countless seminars and workshops take place around the world to tell a paying public that they ought to structure their lives in order to achieve this (Q35).
This rhetoric has also crept into the thinking of business leaders and entrepreneurs, much to the delight of self-proclaimed perfectionists with the need to get everything right (Q36). The number of business schools and graduates has massively increased over the past 50 years, essentially teaching people how to organise well.
Ironically, however, the number of business that fail has also steadily increased. Work-related stress has increased. A large proportion of workers from all demographics claim to be dissatisfied with the way their work is structured and the way they are managed (Q28 Q37).
This begs the question: what has gone wrong? Why is it that on paper the drive for organisation seems a sure shot for increasing productivity, but in reality falls well short of what is expected?
This has been a problem for a while now. Frederick Taylor was one of the forefathers of scientific management. Writing in the first half of the 20th century, he designed a number of principles to improve the efficiency of the work process, which have since become widespread in modern companies (Q29). So the approach has been around for a while.
New research suggests that this obsession with efficiency is misguided. The problem is not necessarily the management theories or strategies we use to organise our work; it’s the basic assumptions we hold in approaching how we work. Here it’s the assumption that order is a necessary condition for productivity. This assumption has also fostered the idea that disorder must be detrimental to organizational productivity (Q30). The result is that businesses and people spend time and money organising themselves for the sake of organising, rather than actually looking at the end goal and usefulness of such an effort (Q38).
What’s more, recent studies show that order actually has diminishing returns (Q31). Order does increase productivity to a certain extent, but eventually the usefulness of the process of organisation, and the benefit it yields, reduce until the point where any further increase in order reduces productivity. Some argue that in a business, if the cost of formally structuring something outweighs the benefit of doing it, then that thing ought not to be formally structured. Instead, the resources involved can be better used elsewhere.
In fact, research shows that, when innovating, the best approach is to create an environment devoid of structure and hierarchy and enable everyone involved to engage as one organic group (Q39). These environments can lead to new solutions that, under conventionally structured environments (filled with bottlenecks in term of information flow, power structures, rules, and routines) would never be reached (Q32).
In recent times companies have slowly started to embrace this disorganisation. Many of them embrace it in terms of perception (embracing the idea of disorder, as opposed to fearing it) and in terms of process (putting mechanisms in place to reduce structure).
For example, Oticon, a large Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, used what it called a ‘spaghetti’ structure in order to reduce the organisation’s rigid hierarchies (Q33). This involved scrapping formal job titles and giving staff huge amounts of ownership over their own time and projects. This approach proved to be highly successful initially, with clear improvements in worker productivity in all facets of the business.
In similar fashion, the former chairman of General Electric embraced disorganisation, putting forward the idea of the ‘boundaryless’ organisation (Q33). Again, it involves breaking down the barriers between different parts of a company and encouraging virtual collaboration and flexible working. Google and a number of other tech companies have embraced (at least in part) these kinds of flexible structures, facilitated by technology and strong company values which glue people together (Q40).
A word of warning to others thinking of jumping on this bandwagon: the evidence so far suggests disorder, much like order, also seems to have diminishing utility, and can also have detrimental effects on performance if overused (Q34). Like order, disorder should be embraced only so far as it is useful. But we should not fear it – nor venerate one over the other. This research also shows that we should continually question whether or not our existing assumptions work.