GMAT reading comprehension: Know about ‘Management’ 1

The best way to ace a reading comprehension exercise is to read the passage well, make notes while reading and scan through the questions and options, so that your ears perk up when you come across a pertinent statement or paragraph.

Read the Passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving. Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles. [26] This distinction is absolutely crucial for our purposes here: A close look at exhibits 2 and 3 shows that successful transformation is 70 to 90 percent leadership and only 10 to 30 percent management. Yet for historical reasons, many organizations [27] today don’t have much leadership. And almost everyone thinks about the problem here as one of managing change.

For most of this century, as we created thousands and thousands of large organizations for the first time in human history, we didn’t have enough good managers to keep all those bureaucracies functioning. So many companies and universities developed management programs, and hundreds and thousands of people were encouraged to learn management on the job. And they did. But people were taught little about leadership. To some degree, management was emphasized because it’s easier to teach than leadership. But even more so, management was the main item on the twentieth century agenda because that’s what was needed. For every entrepreneur or business builder who was a leader, we needed hundreds of managers to run their ever-growing enterprises.

Unfortunately for us today, this emphasis on management has often been institutionalized in corporate cultures that discourage employees from learning how to lead. Ironically, past success is usually the key ingredient in producing this outcome. The syndrome, as I have observed it on many occasions, goes like this: Success creates some degree of market dominance, which in turn produces much growth. After a while, keeping the ever larger organization under control becomes the primary challenge. So attention turns inward, and managerial competencies are nurtured. With a strong emphasis on management but not leadership, bureaucracy and an inward focus take over. But with continued success, the result mostly of market dominance, the problem often goes unaddressed and an unhealthy arrogance begins to evolve. All of these characteristics then make any transformation effort much more difficult.

Arrogant managers can over-evaluate their current performance and competitive position, listen poorly, and learn slowly. Inwardly focused employees can have difficulty seeing the very forces that present threats and opportunities. Bureaucratic cultures can smother those who want to respond to shifting conditions. And the lack of leadership leaves no force inside these organizations to break out of the morass.

1. What is the main topic of the passage?

a)      Importance of management schools in the present context

b)      Good managers

c)       Importance of leadership in an organization

d)      Management and success of an organization

2. Why did companies and universities develop programmes to prepare managers in large numbers?

a)      Companies and managers wanted to generate funds through these programs

b)      Organizations wanted to create communication networks through trained managers

c)       Large number of organizations were created and they needed managers in good numbers

d)      Only trained managers could lead an organization to success

3. Which of the following statements is not true according to the passage?

a)      Bureaucratic cultures smothers those who want to change conditions

b)      Leadership involves carrying out important functions such as budgeting and planning

c)       Pressure on managers comes mostly from within

d)      Leadership has the potential to establish direction

4. Management education was emphasized in the management programs because

a)      Motivating employees was thought to be done by managers

b)      Organizations wanted to create a powerful guiding coalition

c)       Establishing direction was the main force of organizations

d)      Management was the main item of agenda in organizations.

5.  What is the historical reason for many organizations not having leadership?

a)      Leaders allow too much complacency in organizations

b)      Leaders are not adept in carrying out managerial functions and organizations need good managers only

c)       The view that leaders are born and not made

d)      Socio-political pressure

6. Which of the following is similar in meaning to the underlined word ‘nurtured’ as used in the passage?

a)      Created

b)      Developed

c)       Surfaced

d)      Thwarted

Did you like reading the passage? Well, this GMAT reading comprehension passage was chosen with the aim to give you an insight into what ‘management’ is all about. This is not all that is there to it and there is a great deal more. However, you now have a faint clue as to why the need for creating managers and training them in large numbers was felt in the first place.

ANSWERS:  1 (c ), 2(c ), 3 (b), 4 (d), 5 (b), 6 (b)

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