Which of the Following Statements About Kumar’S Study of the Printing Press Can Be Inferred from the Information in the Passage? - English Language


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 statements about Kumar’s study of the Printing Press can be inferred from the information in the passage? 


  • Kumar’s study suggests that the implementation of technology should be discussed in the context of conflict between labor and management. 

  • Kumar examined the impact of changes in the technology at the printing Press in terms of overall operations and organization.

  • Kumar concluded that the implementation of new technology was equally beneficial to management and labor.

  • Kumar’s reason for undertaking the study was to undermine Cravman’s analysis of the function of technology.



Kumar examined the impact of changes in the technology at the printing Press in terms of overall operations and organization.


(1) The passage indicates that Kumar attributed some organisational changes to the way labour and management negotiated the introduction of technology but does not mention the conflict between them.   
(2) According to the passage, Kumar concludes that changes to the technology of switches had an influence on several aspects of the overall operations and organisation of the Printing Press. The passage also states Kumar’s contention that these changes even influence negotiations between management and labour unions.   
(3) The passage does not indicate that Kumar assesses the benefits of technological change to either labour or management.   
(4) The passage indicates that Kumar’s study addressed the extremes of both technological determinism and social constructivism. It cites Cravman as a proponent of social constructivism but provides no evidence that Kumar’s motivation in beginning his study was specifically to target the analysis offered by Cravman.   
Therefore, 'Kumar examined the impact of changes in the technology at the printing Press in terms of overall operations and organization.' is the apt answer. 

Concept: Comprehension Passages (Entrance Exams)
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