What the Managers Really Do?
When students graduate and first enter the workforce, the most common choice is to find an entry-level position. This can be a job such as an unpaid internship, an assistant, a secretary, or a junior partner position. Traditionally, we start with simpler jobs and work our way up. Young professionals start out with a plan to become senior partners, associates, or even managers of a workplace. However, these promotions can be few and far between, leaving many young professionals unfamiliar with management experience. An important step is understanding the role and responsibilities of a person in a managing position. Managers are organisational members who are responsible for the work performance of other organisational members. Managers have formal authority to use organisational resources and to make decisions. Managers at different levels of the organisation engage in different amounts of time on the four managerial functions of planning, organising, leading, and controlling.
However, as many professionals already know, managing styles can be very different depending on where you work. Some managing styles are strictly hierarchical. Other managing styles can be more casual and relaxed, where the manager may act more like a team member rather than a strict boss. Many researchers have created a more scientific approach in studying these different approaches to managing. In the 1960s, researcher Henry Mintzberg created a seminal organisational model using three categories. These categories represent three major functional approaches, which are designated as interpersonal, informational and decisional.
Introduced Category 1: INTERPERSONAL ROLES. Interpersonal roles require managers to direct and supervise employees and the organisation. The figurehead is typically a top of middle manager. This manager may communicate future organisational goals or ethical guidelines to employees at company meetings. They also attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies, host receptions, presentations and other activities associated with the figurehead role. A leader acts as an example for other employees to follow, gives commands and directions to subordinates, makes decisions, and mobilises employee support. They are also responsible for the selection and training of employees. Managers must be leaders at all levels of the organisation; often lower-level managers look to top management for this leadership example. In the role of liaison, a manager must coordinate the work of others in different work units, establish alliances between others, and work to share resources. This role is particularly critical for middle managers, who must often compete with other managers for important resources, yet must maintain successful working relationships with them for long time periods.
Introduced Category 2: INFORMATIONAL ROLES. Informational roles are those in which managers obtain and transmit information. These roles have changed dramatically as technology has improved. The monitor evaluates the performance of others and takes corrective action to improve
that performance. Monitors also watch for changes in the environment and within the company that may affect individual and organisational performance. Monitoring occurs at all levels of management. The role of disseminator requires that managers inform employees of changes that affect them and the organisation. They also communicate the company’s vision and purpose.
Introduced Category 3: DECISIONAL ROLES. Decisional roles require managers to plan strategy and utilise resources. There are four specific roles that are decisional. The entrepreneur role requires the manager to assign resources to develop innovative goods and services, or to expand a business. The disturbance handler corrects unanticipated problems facing the organisation from the internal or external environment. The third decisional role, that of resource allocator, involves determining which work units will get which resources. Top managers are likely to make large, overall budget decisions, while middle managers may make more specific allocations. Finally, the negotiator works with others, such as suppliers, distributors, or labor unions, to reach agreements regarding products and services.
Although Mintzberg’s initial research in 1960s helped categorise manager approaches, Mintzberg was still concerned about research involving other roles in the workplace. Minstzberg considered expanding his research to other roles, such as the role of disseminator, figurehead, liaison and spokesperson. Each role would have different special characteristics, and a new categorisation system would have to be made for each role to understand it properly.
While Mintzberg’s initial research was helpful in starting the conversation, there has since been criticism of his methods from other researchers. Some criticisms of the work were that even though there were multiple categories, the role of manager is still more complex. There are still many manager roles that are not as traditional and are not captured in Mintzberg’s original three categories. In addition, sometimes, Mintzberg’s research was not always effective. The research, when applied to real-life situations, did not always improve the management process in real-life practice.
These two criticisms against Mintzberg’s research method raised some questions about whether or not the research was useful to how we understand “managers” in today’s world. However, even if the criticisms against Mintzberg’s work are true, it does not mean that the original research from the 1960s is completely useless. Those researchers did not say Mintzberg’s research is invalid. His research has two positive functions to the further research.
The first positive function is Mintzberg provided a useful functional approach to analyse management. And he used this approach to provide a clear concept of the role of manager to the researcher. When researching human behavior, it is important to be concise about the subject of the research. Mintzberg’s research has helped other researchers clearly define what a “manager” is, because in real-life situations, the “manager” is not always the same position title. Mintzberg’s definitions added clarity and precision to future research on the topic.
The second positive function is Mintzberg’s research could be regarded as a good beginning to give a new insight to further research on this field in the future. Scientific research is always a gradual process. Just because Mintzberg’s initial research had certain flaws, does not mean it is useless to other researchers. Researchers who are interested in studying the workplace in a systematic way have older research to look back on. A researcher doesn’t have to start from the very beginning— older research like Mintzberg’s have shown what methods work well and what methods are not as appropriate for workplace dynamics. As more young professionals enter the job market, this research will continue to study and change the way we think about the modern workplace.
Look at the following descriptions or deeds (Questions 1-6) and the list of categories below.
Match each description or deed with the correct category, A, B or C. Write the correct letter, A, B, or C, in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet. NB You may use any letter more than once.
A INTERPERSONAL ROLES
B INFORMATIONAL ROLES
C DECISIONAL ROLES
1. the development of business scheme
2. presiding at formal events
3. using employees and funds
4. getting and passing message on to related persons
5. relating the information to employees and organisation
6. recruiting the staff
Choose TWO letters, A-E.
Write the correct letters in boxes 7-8 on your answer sheet.
Which TWO positive functions about Mintzberg’s research are mentioned in the last two paragraphs?
A offers waterproof categories of managers
B provides a clear concept to define the role of a manager
C helps new graduates to design their career
D suggests ways for managers to do their job better
E makes fresh way for further research
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 9-13 on you answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
9. Young professionals can easily know management experience in the workplace.
10. Mintzberg’s theory broke well-established notions about managing styles.
11. Mintzberg got a large amount of research funds for his contribution.
12. All managers do the same work.
13. Mintzberg’s theory is valuable for future studies.
How Well Do We Concentrate?
A Do you read while listening to music? Do you like to watch TV while finishing your homework? People who have these kinds of habits are called multi-taskers. Multitaskers are able to complete two tasks at the same time by dividing their focus. However, Thomas Lehman, a researcher in Psychology, believes people never really do multiple things simultaneously. Maybe a person is reading while listening to music, but in reality, the brain can only focus on one task. Reading the words in a book will cause you to ignore some of the words of the music. When people think they are accomplishing two different tasks efficiently, what they are really doing is dividing their focus. While listening to music, people become less able to focus on their surroundings. For example, we all have experience of times when we talk with friends and they are not responding properly. Maybe they are listening to someone else talk, or maybe they are reading a text on their smart phone and don’t hear what you are saying. Lehman called this phenomenon “email voice”
B the world has been changed by computers and its spin offs like smart-phones or cellphones. Now that most individuals have a personal device, like a smart-phone or a laptop, they are frequently reading, watching or listening to virtual information. This raises the occurrence of multitasking in our day to day life. Now when you work, you work with your typewriter, your cellphone, and some colleagues who may drop by at any time to speak with you. In professional meetings, when one normally focuses and listens to one another, people are more likely to have a cell phone in their lap, reading or communicating silently with more people than ever, liven inventions such as the cordless phone has increased multitasking. In the old days, a traditional wall phone would ring, and then the housewife would have to stop her activities to answer it. When it rang, the housewife will sit down with her legs up. and chat, with no laundry or sweeping or answering the door. In the modern era, our technology is convenient enough to not interrupt our daily tasks.
C Earl Miller, an expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied the prefrontal cortex, which controls the brain while a person is multitasking. According to his studies, the size of this cortex varies between species, He found that for humans, the size of this part constitutes one third of the brain, while it is only 4 to 5 percent in dogs, and about 15% in monkeys. Given that this cortex is larger on a human, it allows a human to be more flexible and accurate in his or her multitasking.. However, Miller wanted to look further into whether the cortex was truly processing information about two different tasks simultaneously. He designed an experiment where he presents visual stimulants to his subjects in a wax that mimics multi-tasking. Miller then attached sensors to the patients ” heads to pick up the electric patterns of the brain. This sensor would show if ” the brain particles, called neurons, were truly processing two different tasks. What he found is that the brain neurons only lit up in singular areas one at a time, and never simultaneously.
D Davis Meyer, a professor of University of Michigan, studied the young adults in a similar experiment. He instructed them to simultaneously do math problems and classify simple words into different categories. For this experiment. Meyer found that when you think you are doing several jobs at the same time, you are actually switching between jobs. Even though the people tried to do the tasks at the same time, and both tasks were eventually accomplished, overall, the task look more time than if the person focused on a single task one at a time.
E People sacrifice efficiency when multitasking, Gloria Mark set office workers as his subjects. He found that they were constantly multitasking. He observed that nearly every 11 minutes people at work were disrupted. He found that doing different jobs at the same time may actually save time. However, despite the fact that they are faster, it does not mean they are more efficient. And we are equally likely to self-interrupt as be interrupted by outside sources. He found that in office nearly every 12 minutes an employee would stop and with no reason at all, cheek a website on their computer, call someone or write an email. If they concentrated for more than 20 minutes, they would feel distressed. He suggested that the average person may suffer from a short concentration span. This short attention span might be natural, but others suggest that new technology may be the problem. With cellphones and computers at our sides at all times, people will never run out of distractions. The format of media, such as advertisements, music, news articles and TV shows are also shortening, so people are used to paying attention to information for a very short time.
F So even though focusing on one single task is the most efficient way for our brains to work, it is not practical to use this method in real life. According to human nature, people feel more comfortable and efficient in environments with a variety of tasks, Edward Hallowell said that people are losing a lot of efficiency in the workplace due to multitasking, outside distractions and self-distractions. As a matter of fact, the changes made to the workplace do not have to be dramatic. No one is suggesting we ban e-mail or make employees focus on only one task. However, certain common workplace tasks, such as group meetings, would be more efficient if we banned cell-phones, a common distraction. A person can also apply these tips to prevent self-distraction. Instead of arriving to your office and checking all of your e-mails for new tasks, a common workplace ritual, a person could dedicate an hour to a single task first thing in the morning. Self-timing is a great way to reduce distraction and efficiently finish tasks one by one, instead of slowing ourselves down with multi-tasking.
Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.
14. a reference to a domestic situation that does not require multitasking
15. a possible explanation of why we always do multitask together
16. a practical solution to multitask in work environment
17. relating multitasking to the size of prefrontal cortex
18. longer time spent doing two tasks at the same time than one at a time
Look at the following statements (Questions 19-23) and the list of scientists below. Match each statement with the correct scientist, A-E.
Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet. NB You may use any letter more than once.
List of Scientists
A Thomas Lehman
B Earl Miller
C David Meyer
D Gloria Mark
E Edward Hallowell
19. When faced multiple visual stimulants, one can only concentrate on one of them.
20. Doing two things together may be faster but not better.
21. People never really do two things together even if you think you do.
22. The causes of multitask lie in the environment.
23. Even minor changes in the workplace will improve work efficiency.
Complete the sentences below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
A term used to refer to a situation when you are reading a text and cannot focus on your surroundings is (24)…………………….
The (25)…………………………part of the brain controls multitasking.
The practical solution of multitask in work is not to allow use of cellphone in (26)………………
Improving Patient Safety
One of the most prominent design issues in pharmacy is that of drag packaging and patient information leaflets (Pits). Many letters have appeared in The Journal’s letters pages over the years from pharmacists dismayed at the designs of packaging that are “accidents waiting to happen”.
Packaging design in the pharmaceutical industry is handled by either in-house teams or design agencies. Designs for over-the-counter medicines, where characteristics such as attractiveness and distinguish-ability are regarded as significant, are usually commissioned from design agencies. A marketing team will prepare a brief and the designers will come up with perhaps six or seven designs. These are whittled down to two or three that might be tested on a consumer group. In contrast, most designs for prescription-only products are created in-house. In some cases, this may simply involve applying a company’s house design (ie, logo, colour, font, etc). The chosen design is then handed over to design engineers who work out how the packaging will be produced.
The author of the recently published “Information design for patient safety,” Thea Swayne, tracked the journey of a medicine from manufacturing plant, through distribution warehouses, pharmacies and hospital wards, to patients’ homes. Her book highlights a multitude of design problems with current packaging, such as lookalikes and soundalikes, small type sizes and glare on blister foils. Situations in which medicines are used include a parent giving a cough medicine to a child in the middle of the night and a busy pharmacist selecting one box from hundreds. It is argued that packaging should be designed for moments such as these. “Manufacturers are not aware of the complex situations into which products go. As designers, we are interested in not what is supposed to happen in hospital wards, but what happens in the real world,” Ms Swayne said.
Incidents where vein has been injected intrathecally instead of spine are a classic example of how poor design can contribute to harm. Investigations following these tragedies have attributed some blame to poor typescript.
Safety and compliance
Child protection is another area that gives designers opportunities to improve safety. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, seven out of 10 children admitted to hospital with suspected poisoning have swallowed medicines. Although child-resistant closures have reduced the number of incidents, they are not: fully child-proof. The definition of such a closure is one that not more than 15 percent of children aged between 42 and 51 months can open within five minutes. There is scope for improving what is currently available, according to Richard Mawle, a freelance product designer. “Many child-resistant packs are based on strength. They do not necessarily prevent a child from access, but may prevent people with a disability,” he told The Journal. “The legal requirements are there for a good reason, but they are not good enough in terms of the users,” he said. “Older people, especially those with arthritis, may have the same level of strength as a child,” he explained, and suggested that better designs could rely on cognitive skills (eg, making the opening of a container a three-step process) or be based on the physical size of hands.
Mr. Mawle worked with GlaxoSmithKline on a project to improve compliance through design, which involved applying his skills to packaging and PILs. Commenting on the information presented, he said: “There can be an awful lot of junk at the beginning of PILs. For example, why are company details listed towards the beginning of a leaflet when what might be more important for the patient is that the medicine should not be taken with alcohol?”
Design principles and guidelines
Look-alike boxes present a potential for picking errors and an obvious solution would be to use colours to highlight different strengths. However, according to Ms.Swayne, colour differentiation needs to be approached with care. Not only should strong colour contrasts be used, but designating a colour to a particular strength (colour coding) is not recommended because this could lead to the user not reading the text on a box.
Design features can provide the basis for lengthy debates. For example, one argument is that if all packaging is white with black lettering, people would have no choice but to read every box carefully. The problem is that trials of drug packaging design are few—common studies of legibility and comprehensibility concern road traffic signs and visual display units. Although some designers take results from such studies into account, proving that a particular feature is beneficial can be difficult. For example, EU legislation requires that packaging must now include the name of the medicine in Braille but, according to Karel van der Waarde, a design consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, “it is not known how much visually impaired patients will benefit nor how much the reading of visually able patients will be impaired”.
More evidence might, however, soon be available. EU legislation requires PILs to reflect consultations with target patient groups to ensure they are legible, clear and easy to use. This implies that industry will have to start conducting tests. Dr. van der Waarde has performed readability studies on boxes and PILs for industry. A typical study involves showing a leaflet or package to a small group and asking them questions to test understanding. Results and comments are used to modify the material, which is then tested on a larger group. A third group is used to show that any further changes made are an improvement. Dr. van der Waarde is, however, sceptical about the legal requirements and says that many regulatory authorities do not have the resources to handle packaging information properly. “They do not look at the use of packaging in a practical context—they only see one box at a time and not several together as pharmacists would do,” he said.
The RCA innovation exhibition this year revealed designs for a number of innovative objects. “The popper”, by Hugo Glover, aims to help arthritis sufferers remove tablets from blister packs, and “pluspoint”, by James Cobb, is an adrenaline auto-injector that aims to overcome the fact that many patients do not carry their auto-injectors due to their prohibitive size. The aim of good design, according Roger Coleman, professor of inclusive design at the RCA, is to try to make things more user-friendly as well as safer. Surely, in a patient-centred health system, that can only be a good thing. “Information design for patient safety” is not intended to be mandatory. Rather, its purpose is to create a basic design standard and to stimulate innovation. The challenge for the pharmaceutical industry, as a whole, is to adopt such a standard.
Look at the following statements (Questions 27-32) and the list of people or organisation below. Match each statement with the correct person or organisation, A-D.
Write the correct letter, A-D, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet. NB You may use any letter more than once.
A Thea Swayne
B Children Accident Prevention Trust
C Richard Mawle
D Karel van der Waarde
27. Elderly people may have the same problem with children if the lids of containers require too much strength to open.
28. Adapting packaging for the blind may disadvantage the sighted people.
29. Specially designed lids cannot eliminate the possibility of children swallowing pills accidentally.
30. Container design should consider situations, such as drug used at home.
31. Governing bodies should investigate many different container cases rather than individual ones.
32. Information on the list of a leaflet hasn’t been in the right order.
Complete the notes using the list of words, A-G, below. Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 33-37 on your answer sheet.
Packaging in pharmaceutical industry Designs for over-the-counter medicines
First, (33)………………… make the proposal, then pass them to the (34)……………………….Finally, these designs will be tested by (35)……………………………….
First, the design is made by (36)…………………………and then subjected to (37)…………………….
B marketing teams
C pharmaceutical industry
D external designers
E in-house designers
F design engineers
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.
38. What may cause the accident in “design container”?
A a print error
B style of print
C wrong label
D the shape of the bottle
39. What do people think about the black and white only print?
A Consumers dislike these products.
B People have to pay more attention to the information.
C That makes all products looks alike.
D Sighted people may feel it more helpful.
40. Why does the writer mention “popper” and “pluspoint”?
A to show that container design has made some progress
B to illustrate an example of inappropriate design which can lead to accidents
C to show that the industry still needs more to improve
D to point out that consumers should be more informed about the information
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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