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Passage 2 | Question # 3

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Passage 2 | Question # 3

Post Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:39 pm
After the Second World War, unionism in the Japanese auto industry was company-based, with separate unions in each auto company. Most company unions played no independent role in bargaining shop-floor issues or pressing autoworkers' grievances. In a 1981 survey, for example, fewer than 1 percent of workers said they sought union assistance for work-related problems, while 43 percent said they turned to management instead. There was little to distinguish the two in any case: most union officers were foremen or middle-level managers, and the union's role was primarily one of passive support for company goals. Conflict occasionally disrupted this cooperative relationship--one company union's opposition to the productivity campaigns of the early 1980s has been cited as such a case. In 1986, however, a caucus led by the Foreman's Association forced the union's leadership out of office and returned the union's policy to one of passive cooperation. In the United States, the potential for such company unionism grew after 1979, but it had difficulty taking hold in the auto industry, where a single union represented workers from all companies, particularly since federal law prohibited foremen from joining or leading industrial unions.

The Japanese model was often invoked as one in which authority decentralized to the shop floor empowered production workers to make key decisions. What these claims failed to recognize was that the actual delegation of authority was to the foreman, not the workers. The foreman exercised discretion over job assignments, training, transfers, and promotions; worker initiative was limited to suggestions that fine-tuned a management-controlled production process. Rather than being proactive, Japanese workers were forced to be reactive, the range of their responsibilities being far wider than their span of control. For example, the founder of one production system, Taichi Ohno, routinely gave department managers only 90 percent of the resources needed for production. As soon as workers could meet production goals without working overtime, 10 percent of remaining resources would be removed. Because the "OH! NO!" system continually pushed the production process to the verge of breakdown in an effort to find the minimum resource requirement, critics described it as "management by stress."

3. The author of the passage mentions the "OH! NO!" system primarily in order to
A. indicate a way in which the United States industry has become more like the Japanese auto industry
B. challenge a particular misconception about worker empowerment in the Japanese auto industry
C. illustrate the kinds of problem-solving techniques encouraged by company unions in Japan
D. suggest an effective way of minimizing production costs in auto manufacturing
E. provide an example of the responsibilities assumed by a foreman in the Japanese auto industry

OA: B

All Questions from this Passage -
Passage 2|Question #1
Passage 2|Question #2
Passage 2|Question #3
Passage 2|Question #4

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Post Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:10 am
richachampion wrote:
DavidG@VeritasPrep wrote:
The system described is one example of this misconception, so the answer is B
I was down to B and D; How can we remove D safely?
The last line describes the process: Because the "OH! NO!" system continually pushed the production process to the verge of breakdown in an effort to find the minimum resource requirement, critics described it as "management by stress."


Pushed the process to the verge of breakdown? It seems like a stretch to refer to that process as "effective." Moreover, we get this description in the context of a paragraph that is trying to convey the notion that what people think about the Japanese model is, at best, a distortion. The point isn't to show that such a model works well.

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Top Reply
Post Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:28 pm
DavidG@VeritasPrep wrote:
The system described is one example of this misconception, so the answer is B
I was down to B and D; How can we remove D safely?

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Post Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:10 am
richachampion wrote:
DavidG@VeritasPrep wrote:
The system described is one example of this misconception, so the answer is B
I was down to B and D; How can we remove D safely?
The last line describes the process: Because the "OH! NO!" system continually pushed the production process to the verge of breakdown in an effort to find the minimum resource requirement, critics described it as "management by stress."


Pushed the process to the verge of breakdown? It seems like a stretch to refer to that process as "effective." Moreover, we get this description in the context of a paragraph that is trying to convey the notion that what people think about the Japanese model is, at best, a distortion. The point isn't to show that such a model works well.

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Enroll in a Veritas Prep GMAT class completely for FREE. Wondering if a GMAT course is right for you? Attend the first class session of an actual GMAT course, either in-person or live online, and see for yourself why so many students choose to work with Veritas Prep. Find a class now!

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