Reading Passage 1
You are advised to spend about 20 minutes on the questions based on the reading passage below.
Birth of a profession
As pressure grows on companies to respond to enviro-nmental issues, one of the easiest ways to do so it to appoint an environmental manager from inside the organisation, whether or not they already have a quality or health and safety manager or director. It is another matter whether or not it makes any difference to the environmental performance of the company.
It is in response to the needs of these personnel, thrust suddenly into an entirely new role in the corporate structure, that an initiative was launched a year ago to provide a framework of key standards of competence. It is nearing its closing stage of development but that will then lead on to further phases in creating what is intended to be a new breed of professional, capable of wielding the same authority as his or her collegues inside the company.
The institute Environmental Managers was established last year to create a forum for those often in a still embryonic role to learn and exchange methods, rather than struggle in isolation with what their companies increasingly demand of them. The institute’s members, now numbering about 400, range from some of those in large multi-nationals, who have been developing expertise and experience over a number of years, to newcomers in the field, often in smaller organisations. Concern that many were struggling in the deep end was confirmed in a survey, carried out by the institute on its members, on the stature of the environmental managers in the UK.
The co-director of the Centre for Environment and Business in Scotland, which provides the secretariat for the Institute, explained that these managers were looking for some sort of support. The main problem was the attitude of other people in the company, both of the management and of the workforce, resulting in slipping priorities and difficulties in gaining access to the decision makers.
A principal factor that was identified was that there was no formal recognition of individuals’ environmental management skills and, indeed, that they had no standards of competence to aim for. One of the first things the institute’s steering group, which overseas its day-to-day matters, therefore decided to do was to establish these. After much brainstorming and interviews with environmental managers, six key areas of competence were defined: strategic vision: business awareness; management skills; motivation, training and leadership; external communications; and crisis management.
The management element has been specified very strongly because a lot of environmental managers, although technically very competent people, are being pushed into a management role with very few of the required skills. On the other hand, some experience of their organisation will remain a prerequisite, as the managers have to be aware of their own business and how it works. People who have come straight out of university having studied environmental management will be of little use, so the environmental remit is being given to people who are already well established in the company, probably in middle management. While some big companies may want to train their own specialist team of managers straight from university, this situation is unlikely to change dramatically.
While all decision-makers round the company will be responsible for their own areas, the environmental manager will act as co-ordinator, providing the frame-work. To standardise the levels of competence for such a multi-disciplinary, to be taken up by people from different career routes, education and trainning will become a matter of complementing and extending individuals’ own knowledge and expertise.
A survey of training in Scotland is currently being conducted to establish what kind of courses are provided and whether they are suitable for business people who have insufficient time to time to do a modular course. A similar project is under way for the rest of the UK, identifying centres of excellence on a regional basis, so that people know they can go to at least one centre near them. The long-term plan is to work with educational establishments to design courses in line with required competences, so providing the business community with the training it requires on a flexible, modular basis. In the meantime, with the final consultation period for the standards and assessment procedure completed, the aim is to start inviting applications to put themselves forward for assessment to full membership.
The Institute confident there is demand, both from managers and their employers. The aim is to empower the environmental managers and to get them professional status, so they start being considered seriously within their companies. The growing need to be able to demonstrate this commitment through certification, and other needs, will only add to this demand.
The environmental management systems standard BS7750 in its final draft stipulates that the organisation shall appoint a management representative who, irrespective of other responsibilities, shall have defined authority and responsibility for ensuring that the requirements of this standard are implemented and maintained’. More and more companies, however, will look beyond even this. The intention, then, is to produce a code of practice for members, to enable them to say to their employers, in difficult situations, that they have professional standards to maintain and must be taken seriously.
Far from being confrontational, the belief is that companies will become aware of the importance of having, and indeed spotlighting, someone responsible for managing their environmental policy. It will provide their customers, financiers, insurers and regulators with greater assurance than simply demonstrating compliance.
Refer the text on the opposite page and answer question 1-16
Complete the summary by choosing no more than three words from the reading passage to fill the spaces numbered 1-9.
The first one has been done for you as an example.
Summary : Birth of a profession Example
Answer One way for companies to respond to pressure on environmental issue is to… appoint
an environmental manager.
These (1) however, need a framework of key standards of competence before they will be regarded as professionals. The institute of the environmental Managers was established to fulfil this need by drawing together isolated individuals, some experienced within (2) other newcomers from smaller organisations, thus providing an opportunity to exchange ideas. Many need this support, as prevailing attitudes make it difficult to gain access to decision-makers. The aims are to gain (3) of environmental management skills, to establish much needed (4) to work towards and to achieve professional status through certification. Management skills are emphasized, as environmental management is a co-ordinating (5) role where both knowledge and expertise are necessary. Training will thus need to extend the skills of experienced individuals from differing backgrounds. The centre aims to identify regional (6) and provide relevant (7) courses and to establish a (8) to support members. Companies should also welcome this move as they become increasingly aware of the importance of formulating and managing their own company (9) .
Questions 10-14 The list below contains six descriptions or definitions of the key areas of competence defined in the reading passage. Match each description or definition with the relevant area of competence.
You should write no more than three words for each answer.
to understand the need for an emergency action plan and be able to justify the contigency measures – Crises Management
10 to ensure environmental measures are effectively communicated to and adopted by others
11 to identify cost-efficient solutions in a commercial context
12 to handle individuals and organisations outside
13 to undertake effective project and systems management and internal communications
14 to see beyond strict compliance and steer the company towards a sustainable future Questions
Choose either true or false.
15 Many environmental managers are competent in the technical rather than managerial field.
16 Most big companies will prefer to take graduates straight out of university.
You are advised to spend about 20 minutes on the questions on this reading passage.
Rethinking Europe : ICI and the Single European Market
Recently, amid a fanfare of proclamations by its senior managers about the need to ‘reshape for the single market challenge’, the world’s fourth largest chemical multi-national created a new regional organisation, based in Brussels. Then, barely sixteen months later, it decided quietly – although amid internal controversy – to shut it down. The closing down of ICI Europe, in the countryside near Brussels, reflects the company’s new found willingness to adjust to changing circumstances far more rapidly than in the past. By reversing its decision. lCl had done two things. First it recognised that it had overrated the potential demand from multi-national customers – ranging from BMW to several household appliance makers – for cross-border European sales co-ordiantion across its various business. Instead, it now feels that any pan-European sales synergies’ can be handled within individual businesses. Second, the turnaround represented the final triumph within ICI of a movement which, as in many multi-nationals today, was already on the rise inside the chemical company before the Brussels decision was taken: the need to speed decision-making and cut costs by streamlining the complex ‘matrix’ structures through which they had been managed since the 1960s.
In september 1990, when ICI celebrated the opening of ICI Europe, a clear shift of influence towards the global businesses, away from its existing regional organisations and national companies, had already been under way since the 1970s. Although the reasons for the creation of ICI Europe seemed powerful to those directly involved and to the outside world, it has seen elsewhere within ICI as being inappropriately timed.
With hindsight, it is said that ICI Europe was really a project, not a permanent organisation. This is because its most publicised purpose, the creation of ‘corporate coherence’ towards customers in continental Europe, proved to be ahead of its time. Car companies, for instance, still prefer not to purchase through a single point, even if four ICI business supply them separately with paint, polyurethane for bumpers, advanced materials for engines, and fibres for seats.
ICI is by no means the only multi-national which, in its Euro-enthusiam, misread its customers’ purchasing intentions in this way. Nonetheless, it is surprising that ICI accepted the now mainly discredited ‘Supermarket’ theory of business-to-business purchasing. The result was that ICI Europe’s main tasks from the start actually turned out to be trasitional:
– to establish an orderly transfer of sales activities and staff from the fifteen national companies to ICI’s global business splitting sales staff into European sub-regions such as Benelux, Nordic and what IC/ calls ‘mid-Europe’ (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
– to support the business across Europe by creating half a dozen sub-regional centres for shared ‘support services, such as information technology, finance, health and safety, public affairs and personnel
– to streamline the :Did way of maintaining a ‘corporate presence’ in each country. By the summer of 1991, several things had happened:
– Most of the first two tasks were well in hand or complete.
– The business climate had changed for the worse, and ICI’s profits had slumped. Moreover; a takeover was threatened and a desperate hunt was under way within ICI to simplify structures and cut costs.
– From the beginning of 1991 the group’s fourteen had been agglomerated into eight larger units, all with revenues of more than $1 billion. If necessary, regional co-ordination could be done at that level.
– It was felt that the upkeep of ICI Europe was affecting their European selling costs.
Furthermore, it was also felt that control over the entire business process, from the customer right back to the factory, was being affected. The response from ICI’s top management was to set up a study group. It decided that /C/ Europe had, in effect, fulfilled much of its remit. It should be shut down, and its remaining activities split up. The provision of shared services would be transferred to the selected to act as a part-time ‘ICI supermo’ there. The first to take on such a representative role, for the whole Nordic area, was the head of ICI Pharmaceuticals. Both these moves follow the growing tendency within other multi-nationals of stream-lining their bureaucracies, by delegating such geographic ‘head office’ responsibi-lities to senior divisional manager on a part-time basis. The decision to conform with international practice was not unanimous, however. There were complaints that it was not adequately discussed and it was opposed by the main ICI board member responsible for Europe, by the chairman of ICI Europe, and by one of the business heads. One concern was that ICI might lose continental perspective; another was that it would lose the ability to develop international managers capable of moving across business.
The costs saved by shutting ICI Europe are hard to estimate, since about twenty of its sixty staff have been transferred, either to the UK head office or to the businesses. More significantly, its efforts cut the cost of ICI’s continental support services by a fifth between 1990 and 1992. There is potentially at least as much again to be saved through streamlining within the businesses.
Complete each sentence below with a maximum of three words form the reading passage.
ICI was attempting to prepare the single market for
17 One of the main reasons that ICI reversed its decision was that it had
18 One purpose of streamlining company structures is to
19 Another purpose is
Questions 20-21 Choose which of the options best represents the information in the reading passage, Choose the appropriate letter (A-D).
20 Its planned corporate coherence failed because ICI
21 ICI’s main tasks were to
Questions 22-29 The paragraph below is a summary of the middle section of the reading passage. Complete the summary by choosing the appropriate word, phrase or clause from the list below to fill the spaces numbered 22-29. Choose the corresponding letter (A-N) and move into the gap. There are more choices than spaces, so you will not need to use all of them.
Summary : Rethinking Europe
After a year most staff had been transferred to the…………. and support service centres had been created. E
Owing to the (22) however, profits (23) and a take-over was threatened. This forced (24) on streamlining the business. Eight units, each with a revenue (25) £1 billion, had been formed and it was decided that regional co-ordination could be achieved at that level. Nonetheless, it was still felt that (26) ICI Europe was not cost-effective and that there had been a (27) over the entire production to after-sales process. A study group was established, which decided, on the basis of what had been accomplished, to close ICI Europe, transfer the shared service centres to one business (28) and to appoint a senior manager there to act as (29) on a part-time basis.
List of phrases
30 Did the study group feel that ICI Europe had been partial success or a total failure?
31 How many people opposed the study group’s decision?
32 How much more could be saved on continental support service costs?
Reading Passage 3
You are advised to spend about 15 minutes on the questions based on the reading passage below.
The muddle of MBAs’
It is incongruous that number of British institutes offering MBA courses should have grown by 254 per cent during a period when the economy has been sliding into deeper recession. Optimists, or those given to speedy assumptions, might think it marvellous to have such a resource of business school graduates ready for the recovery. Unfortunately, there is now much doubt about the value of the degree-not least among MBA graduates themselves, suffering as they are from the effects of recession and facing the prospect of shrinking management structures.
What was taken some years ago as a ticket of certain admission to success is now being exposed to the scrutiny of cost-conscious employers who seek ‘can-dos’ rather than ‘might-dos’ and who feel that academia has not been sufficiently appreciative of the needs of industry or of the employer’s possible contribution.
It is curious, given the name of the degree, that there should be no league table for UK business schools; no unanimity about what the degree should encompass; and no agreed system of accreditation. Surely there is something wrong. One wonders where all the tutors for this massive infusion of business expertise came from and why all this mushrooming took place.
Perhaps companies that made large investments would have been wiser to invest in already existing managers, perched anxiously on their own internal ladders. The Institute of. Management’s 1992 survey, which revealed that eighty-one per cent of managers thought they personally would be more effective if they received more training, suggests that this might be the case. There is, too, the fact that training alone does not make successful managers. They need the inherent qualifications of character; a degree of self-subjugation; and, above, all the ability to communicate and lead; more so now, when empowerment is a buzzword that is at least generating genuflections, if not total conviction.
One can easily think of people, some comparatively unlettered, who are now lauded captains of industry. We may, therefore, not need to be too concerned about the fall in applications for business school places, or even the doubt about MBAs. The proliferation and subsequent questioning may have been an inevitable evolution. If the Management Charter Initiative, now exploring the introduction of a senior management qualification, is successful, there will be a powerful corrective.
We believe now that management is all about change. One hopes there will be some of that in the relationship between management and science within industry, currently causing concern and which is overdue for attention. No-one doubts that we need more scientists and innovation to give us an edge in an increasingly competitive world. if scientists feel themselves undervalued and under-used, working in industrial ghettos, that is not a promising augury for the future. It seems are we have to resolve these misapprehensions between science and industry. Above all, we have to make sure that management is not itself smug about its status and that is does not issue mission statements about communication without realising that the essence of it a dialogue. More empowerment is required-and we should strive to achieve it.
Reading passage 3
In questions 33-36, choose which of the answer (A-D) best represents the information in the reading passage. Choose the appropriate letter, (A-D).
33 What is the writer’s view in the reading passage?
He believes that
34 According to the passage, employers
34 According to the passage, employers
35 According to the passage,
A managers need a degree and the ability to communicate.
B training needs to be done in groups to be successful.
C managers today have good communication and leadership skills.
D industrial managers do not need to write letters.
36 In the Writer’s opinion,
A science increases competition.
B scientists are undervalued.
C the management of science needs reassessment.
D management feels smug about its status.
Questions 37-40 Choose T if the statement agrees with the information, choose F if the statement contradicts the information or choose NG if there is no information on this.
37 Employers today are looking for proven experience rather than potential ability.
38 Most managers interviewed felt that their colleagues needed more training.
39 The Management Charter initiative is an attempt to standardise MBAs.
40 Companies would have benefited more from investing in their own staff rather than recruiting MBAs.
2. (LARGE) MULTINATIONALS
3. FORMAT RECOGNITION
4. STANDARDS OF COMPETENCE
6. CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE
7. FLEXIBLE, MODULAR
8. CODE OF PRACTISE
9. ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
10. MOTIVATION/ TRAINING AND LEADERSHIP
11. BUSINESS AWARENESS
12. EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION
13. MANAGEMENT SKILLS
14. STRATEGIC VISION
17. OVERRATED (POTENTIAL) DEMAND
18. SPEED (UP) DECISION MAKING/ TO CUT COSTS/ COST CUTTING/ CUTTING COSTS
19. SPEED (UP) DECISION MAKING/TO CUT COSTS/ COST CUTTING/ CUTTING COSTS
30. PARTIAL SUCCESS
32. A/ONE FIFTH/(1/5) 20%