XAT 2011

Instructions

Read the  following  discussion/passage  and provide an appropriate answer for the questions that follow.

Of the several features of the Toyota Production System that have been widely studied, most important is the mode of governance of the shop - floor at Toyota. Work and inter - relations between workers are highly scripted in extremely detailed ‘operating procedures’ that have to be followed rigidly, without any deviation at Toyota. Despite such rule - bound rigidity, however, Toyota does not become a ‘command - control system’. It is able to retain the character of a learning organization

In fact, many observers characterize it as a community of scientists carrying out several small experiments simultaneously. The design of the operating procedure is the key. Every principal must find an expression in the operating procedure – that is how it has an effect in the domain of action. Workers on the shop - floor, often in teams, design the ‘operating procedure’ jointly with the supervisor through a series of hypothesis that are proposed and validated or refuted through experiments in action. The rigid and detailed ‘operating procedure’ specification throws up problems of the very minute kind; while its resolution leads to a reframing of the procedure and specifications. This inter - temporal change (or flexibility) of the specification (or operating procedure) is done at the lowest level of the organization; i.e. closest to the site of action.

One implication of this arrangement is that system design can no longer be rationally optimal and standardized across the organization. It is quite common to find different work norms in contiguous assembly lines, because each might have faced a different set of problems and devised different counter - measures to tackle it. Design of the coordinating process that essentially imposes the discipline that is required in large - scale complex manufacturing systems is therefore customized to variations in man - machine context of the site of action. It evolves through numerous points of negotiation throughout the organization. It implies then that the higher levels of the hierarchy do not exercise the power of the fiat in setting work rules, for such work rules are no longer a standard set across the whole organization.

It might be interesting to go through the basic Toyota philosophy that underlines its system designing practices. The notion of the ideal production system in Toyota embraces the following -‘the ability to deliver just - in - time (or on demand) a customer order in the exact specification demanded, in a batch size of one (and hence an infinite proliferation of variants, models and specifications), defect - free, without wastage of material, labour, energy or motion in a safe and (physically and emotionally) fulfilling production environment’. It did not embrace the concept of a standardized product that can be cheap by giving up variations. Preserving consumption variety was seen, in fact, as one mode of serving society. It is interesting to note that the articulation of the Toyota philosophy was made around roughly the same time that the Fordist system was establishing itself in the US automotive industry.

Question 1

What can be best defended as the asset which Toyota model of production leverages to give the vast range of models in a defect - free fashion?

Question 2

Which of the following can be best defended as a pre-condition for the Toyota type of production system to work?

Question 3

Based on the above passage, which of the following statements is best justified?

Question 4

What could be the best defence of the “different work norms in contiguous assembly lines”?

Instructions

For the following questions answer them individually

Question 5

The author has _________ his composition to the best of his _________; yet listen to it with a sympathetic ___________, O _____________ souls, and judge it.
The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:


Question 6

There is much difficulty ________ getting ________ this place and it is not possible to reach ___________ without the grace of the lord.
The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

Question 7

_________ you have a doubt, why not go and verify? I shall be waiting in the shade ________ this banyan tree till you come back _________ me.

The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

Question 8

Pick the odd one out:

Instructions

Analyse the following passage and provide appropriate answers that follow.

We can answer Fermi’s Paradox in two ways. Perhaps our current science over - estimates the likelihood of extraterrestrial intelligence evolving. Or, perhaps, evolved technical intelligence has some deep tendency to be self - limiting, even self - exterminating. After Hiroshima, some suggested that any aliens bright enough to make colonizing space ships would be bright enough to make thermonuclear bombs, and would use them on each other sooner or later.

I suggest a different, even darker solution to the Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual - reality narcissism. Once they turn inwards to chase their shiny pennies of pleasure, they lose the cosmic plot.

The fundamental problem is that an evolved mind must pay attention to indirect cues of biological fitness, rather than tracking fitness itself. This was a key insight of evolutionary psychology in the early 1990s; although evolution favours brains that tend to maximize fitness (as measured by numbers of great - grandkids), no brain has capacity enough to do so under every possible circumstance. As a result, brains must evolve shortcuts: fitness - promoting tricks, cons, recipes and heuristics that work, on an average, under ancestrally normal conditions. Technology is fairly good at controlling external reality to promote real biological fitness, but it’s even better at delivering fake fitness - subjective cues of survival and reproduction without the real - world effects.

Fitness - faking technology tends to evolve much faster than our psychological resistance to it. With the invention of Xbox 360, people would rather play a high - resolution virtual ape in Peter Jackson’s King Kong than be a perfect – resolution real human. Teens today must find their way through a carnival of addictively fitness - faking entertainment products. The traditional staples of physical, mental and social development - athletics, homework dating - are neglected. The few young people with the self - control to pursue the meritocratic path often get distracted at the last minute.

Around 1900, most inventions concerned physical reality and in 2005 focus shifted to virtual entertainment. Freud’s pleasure principle triumphs over the reality principle. Today we narrow - cast human - interest stories to each other, rather than broadcasting messages of universal peace and progress to other star systems.

Maybe the bright aliens did the same. I suspect that a certain period of fitness - faking narcissism is inevitable after any intelligent life evolves. This is the Great Temptation for any technological species – to shape their subjective reality to provide the cues of survival and reproductive success without the substance. Most bright alien species probably go extinct gradually, allocating more time and resources to their pleasures and less to their children.

Heritable variation in personality might allow some lineages to resist the Great Temptation and last longer. Some individuals and families may start with an “irrational” Luddite abhorrence of entertainment technology, and they may evolve ever more self - control, conscientiousness and pragmatism by combining the family values of the religious right with the sustainability values of the Greenpeace. They wait patiently for our fitness - faking narcissism to go extinct. Those practical - minded breeders will inherit the Earth as like - minded aliens may have inherited a few other planets. When they finally achieve contacts, it will not be a meeting of novel - readers and game - players. It will be a meeting of dead - serious super - parents who congratulate each other on surviving not just the Bomb, but the Xbox.

Question 9

Among the following options, which one represents the most important concern raised in the passage?

Question 10

Which among the following would be the best possible explanation for the lack of contact between human beings and aliens?

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