Which of the Following Most Accurately Describes Kumar’S Opinion of Cravman’S Position? - English Language

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Read the following passage carefully and then answer the question that follows.

Surajendu Kumar’s study on the effect of the modernization of a Government Printing Press on Press 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.

Kumar 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. Kumar believes this possibility has been obscured by the recent sociological fashion, exemplified by Cravman’s analysis, that emphasizes the way machinery reflects social choices. For Cravman, 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. Kumar refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theoretical and empirical arguments. Theoretically, he defines “technology” in terms of relationship 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, Kumar shows how a change at the Printing Press from maintenance-intensive electromechanical devices to semi-electronic devices altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers. Some changes Kumar 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, Kumar helps answer the question: “When is social choice decisive and when are concrete characteristics of technology more important ?”

Which of the following most accurately describes Kumar’s opinion of Cravman’s position? 


  • He is sympathetic to its concern about the impact of modern technology on workers.

  • He is concerned about its potential to impede the implementation of new technologies.

  • He disapproves of its misplaced emphasis on the influence of managers.

  • He admires the consideration it gives to the attitude of workers affected.

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He disapproves of its misplaced emphasis on the influence of managers.


The passage describes Cravman’s position as one of the mainstream social constructivism. Cravman believes that  “the shape of a technological system is subordinate to  the manager’s desire to wrest control of the labour  process from the workers,” whereas Kumar believes that  “technology can be a primary determinant of social and  managerial organisation.” Kumar suggests that managers are sometimes subordinate to technological change.  Clearly, Kumar and Cravman are at odds at this point.   
1. The passage does not indicate that Kumar is sympathetic to any concerns attributed to Cravman
2. The passage does not indicate that Kumar
considers impediment
s to modernization.  
3. The passage shows that Kumar believes managers to have less influence over how technology affects an organisation than Cravman claims that they have.   
4. The passage does not indicate that Kumar admires any aspect of Cravman’s position.   
Therefore, 'He disapproves of its misplaced emphasis on the influence of managers.' is the apt answer.

Concept: Comprehension Passages (Entrance Exams)
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