Reading 1 hour
Questions 1 – 8
Look at the sentences below and at the five extracts from a book about staff appraisals and feedback on the opposite page .
Which new item A, B, C ,D or E dose each statement 1 – 8 refer to ?
For each statement 1 – 8 , make one letterA, B, C ,D or E on your Answer Sheet .
You will need to use some of these letters more than once .
1 Genuine feedback would release resources to be used elsewhere.
2 Managers are expected to enable their staff to work effectively.
3 Experts are unlikely to facilitate a move to genuine feedback.
4 There are benefits when methods of evaluating performance have been negotiated.
5 Appraisals tend to focus on the nature of the face-to-face relationship between employees and their line managers.
6 The idea that employees are responsible for what they do seems reasonable.
7 Despite experts’ assertion, management structures prevent genuine feedback
8 An increasing amount of effort is being dedicated to the appraisal process.
Performance appraisal is on the up and up. It used to represent the one time of year when getting on with the work was put on hold while enormous quantities of management hours were spent in the earnest ritual of rating and ranking performance. Now the practice is even more frequent. This of course makes it all the more important how appraisal is conducted. Human resources professionals claim that managers should strive for objectivity and thus for feedback rather than judgement. But the simple fact of the matter is that the nature of hierarchy distorts the concept of feedback because performance measure are conceived hierarchically. Unfortunately, all too many workers suffer from the injustices that this generates.
The notion behind performance appraisal- that workers should be held accountable for their performance-is plausible. However, the evidence suggests that the premise is wrong. Contrary to assumptions appraisal is not an effective means of performance improvement- it is judgement imposed rather than feedback, a judgement imposed by the hierarchy. Useful feedback , on the other hand, would be information that told both the manager and worker how well the work system functioned, and suggested ways to make it better.
Within the production system at the car manufacturer Toyota, there is nothing that is recognizable as performance appraisal. Every operation in the system has an associated measure. The measure has been worked out between the operators and their manager. In every case, the measure is related to the purpose of the work. That measure is the basis of feedback to the manager and worker alike. Toyota’s basic idea is expressed in the axiom “bad news first” . Both managers and workers are psychologically safe in the knowledge that it is the system- not the worker –that is the primary influence on performance. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that the workers operate in a system that facilitates their performance.
In many companies , performance appraisal springs from misguided as assumptions. To judge achievement, managers use date about each worker’s activity, not an evaluation of the process or system’s achievement of purpose. The result is that performance appraisal involves managers’ judgement overruling their staff’s, ignoring the true influences on performance. Thus the appraisal experience becomes a question of pleasing the boss, particularly in meetings, which is psychologically unsafe and socially driven, determining who is “in” and who is “ out”.
When judgement is replaced by feedback in the true sense, organizations will have a lot more time to devote to their customers and their business. No time will be wasted in appraisal . This requires a fundamental shift in the way we think about the organization of performance appraisals, which almost certainly will not be forthcoming from the human resources profession.
Read the text , which describes the experience of a company that has made big changes in its office procedures
Choose the best sentence from the opposite page to fill each of the gaps.
For each gap 9– 14, mark one letter A-H on your Answer Sheet.
Do not use any letter more than once.
There is an example at the beginning.0
The Danish electronics manufacturer, Oticon, is a leader in the move towards the paperless office, In their cafeteria a huge glass pipe runs from ceiling to floor. When the mail comes in, it is immediately scanned into the computer, shredded, and thrown down the tube to the general cheers of the employees. 0 Having all mail and memos available only as computer files to be read on the screen makes it easy to dispense with large physical storage spaces for people who work at desks 9
Changing over to the paperless office required a rapid increase in computer literacy, but rather than set up a corporate training programme they turned the problem over to employees. Eight months before the system was installed , they offered each employee a powerful personal computer for use at home in exchange for training themselves to use it. 10
The big change was not the move from paper memos to computer messages. Oticon realised that the more radical transformation is from written to verbal communication.11 that adds up to a large number of face-to-face exchanges, a big improvement over memos and the occasional multi-hour sit-down consultation typical of the old culture. People do not send each other memos, they talk. As the CEO puts it, “ We have jumped through the memo wall and gone right to action.”
On the eighth of August 1991 , the company left their old wood-panelled offices .12 Since then they have cut in half the “ time to market” on new products. The following year, sales and profits grew more than ever before. 13 in fact, despite a downsizing of 15 per cent employee satisfaction is hitting record highs.
Oticon has created an organizational pattern that supports great freedom iof action for inpiduals and terms. They have tied it together with a minimum hierarchy.
The first clear results to show up were in the greater efficiencies generated by the fact that less time needed to be spent on management activities . 14 they also have some investment in the success of the project they choose. Oticon has succeeded in breaking the mould mould and taking a lead in non-bureaucratic organizational design.
A This saving was possible because when people have real choice in the nature of their jobs, they commit themselves to being responsible for their areas of choice.
B They were headed for a new building and a new era in communication.
C Instead, they have large private areas on their hard disks for their correspondence.
D In spite of this, the physical office layout at Oticon is one of its most charming features.
E Over 90 per cent accepted , and they organized a club to help one another learn.
F To facilitate this, the on-site coffee bars have now become the venue for about twenty meetings a day, averaging ten minutes and 2.7 participants each.
G So, are people happy with the change”
H Only about ten documents a day, items like legal contracts, escape this treatment.
Questions 15– 20
●Read the following article about the development of the knowledge economy and the questions on the opposite page .
●For each question 15 – 20 , mark one letter A, B, C or D on your Answer Sheet for the answer you choose.
There have long been markets in tin, cocoa, silver and the like. There used to be security in thinking that somewhere there was a product, something you could touch and see. Now there are new markets in abstractions, trade in ideas and knowledge. Everyone has knowledge but there used to be no way t o trade it ------except through jobs. That simple fact of economic life was the basis for white collar employment for centuries. The whole job culture grew up because there was no alternative way to sell knowledge , other then the worker or manager providing, for a fixed price, his or her knowledge to an employer to own or control. The quantity of knowledge provided has typically been measured in time.
But today we stand at the thresh-old of a new era. The information economy has matured and become smarter. According to many business commentators, we are now living in a knowledge economy . There has always been a market for knowledge , of course. The publishing industry is based on it. But today the internet is making the distribution of knowledge ever easier. The days when the publisher decided what got published are over. Anyone with a Pc and a modem can talk to the world. This is reducing the friction in the knowledge economy.
Everyone has knowledge of whatever industry she or he is in. say you are a computer dealer, for example. Over the years your have complied a list of the ten best lowest price places to buy wholesale computer equipment. Now you can sell your knowledge to newer, younger computer dealers who have no way to build up this knowledge without losing thousands of pounds finding it out the hard way. Until now, such knowledge remained securely locked in the recipient’s head ,accumulated and then worthlessly withered away. This no longer needs to be the case. Such knowledge can be sold via websites.
Knowledge has a distinct advantage in today’s marketplace. It’s a renewable resource. Better yet, its worth actually increases, . “knowledge is the only asset that grows with use. “ observes Scanford University Professor Paul Romer. But what exactly is knowledge and how can it be packaged to trade on an open market” “ knowledge is experiential information, intelligence applied thorough and gained from experience.” Say Josenph Pine and James Gilmore in their book The Experience Economy.
The value of knowledge often depends on variables such as time and the credibility of the seller.Certian knowledge may have a very limited shelf life. In sights concerning how to set up an internet business in one country, might be worth a fortune on one day and nothing the next , depending on changes in government policy. Markets in knowledge will be significance for one thing. They represent one of the most original uses of the web technology. In some corner of the globe there is a company wanting to source plastic widgets from Poland, and somewhere else another company that wishes to set up a plastics factory there. It’s simply a case of connecting the two.
Indicater.com is a good example of a knowledge trader. It is targeted at food service managers throughout the hospitality industry. “we started with the context rather than extracting money from suppliers. “ explains founder Mike Day. “ we offer food service professionals interactive support to increase sales and profits. People don’t want another one-dimensional site full of advertising that doesn’t help them to do their job more effectively . it has to be customised offering real solutions to real problems. “ the site’s features include access to online training and a tariff tracker to restaurants can check prices throughout the sector.
15. what point is made in the first paragraph?
A Interest in commodity markets has decreased.
B Overall levels of expertise have improved.
C Opportunities to exploit your knowledge were limited in the past
D External market forces have meant knowledge is underpriced.
16 what are we told about the current impact of the internet in the second paragraph?
A publishers benefit from their exploitation of the internet.
B the internet has made it easier to analyse business trends.
C It is difficult to calculate the true economic value of the internet.
D the internet facilitates the development of the knowledge economy.
17 In the third paragraph, what does the writer say about knowledge?
A Acquiring knowledge can be expensive
B The most valuable knowledge concerns IT
C Trading knowledge raises issues of security.
D New businesses find it hard to trade in knowledge.
18. What point is made about knowledge in the fourth paragraph?
A It provides specialist information
B Its appeal lies in its exclusivity
C it can generate new ideas
D Its value accumulates.
19 which application of knowledge does the writer regard as particularly useful?
A analyzing manufacturing trends
B introducing compatible parties
C interpreting time constraints
D advising on legislation
20 what key feature is provided by Indicater.com?
A approaches that reflect the provider’s own experience
B access to appropriately trained potential employees.
C advice which directly benefits the bottom line
D advertising which is carefully targeted
Questions 21 -30
Read the text below about the improved performance of a car company.
Choose the best word to fill each gap from A, B, C or D on the opposite page.
For each question 21-30,mark one letter A, B, C or D on your Answer Sheet.
There is an example at the beginning, 0
Improved performance at Carter& Sons
There was good news in Carter & Sons’ annual 0 yesterday. Three years of restructuring 21 in an upbeat statement from the company in advance of the official announcement of its interim 22 due early in August. The chairman, David Carter, reported a “ strong start to the year”, which, although helped by a rather weak 23 period last year, highlighted the logic of refocusing the group on growth sectors. Three years ago the company 24 a review of all its operations in view of the serious financial difficulties that it was 25 As a result of this, its car 26 business was sold to an American group, and its car sales and repair pisions were 27 down so as to allow the company to 28 on the sale of vans and heavy goods vehicles. Three new showrooms have been opened in the UK and Ireland , and the sales 29 has more than doubled in the last two years.