In the decade from the mid–1980s to the mid–1990s, large corporations were rocked by mergers, reengineering, and down...

Sean on July 29, 2018

PT 29, S4, Q19

Could you break this question down please? Thank you!


Christopher on July 29, 2018

@smilde11, this is a odd question because it is essentially a paradox question, but four out of the five answer choices could explain the apparent paradox, and the correct answer is the only one that does not. These always bent my brain a little bit, but the best way to approach it is through the process of elimination. Read each answer choice, and if it provides a possible explanation for the above phenomenon, then cross it off.

The question is talking about a decade of major instability among major firms that stretched from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. This instability majorly undermined job security, yet despite this employee perception of the stability of their own jobs hardly changed between 1984 and 1994. So despite the fact that during that decade, many people lost their jobs, why would employees feel their job stability was largely the same after a decade of turmoil?

(A) says that a large number of people in both surveys worked for small companies that weren't affected by the upheaval. This is a POSSIBLE (remember, it doesn't have to be 100% certainly true. It just needs to be possible), since working for a company that was unaffected by the upheaval of the period would immunize you to that insecurity.

(B) says that "employees who feel secure in their jobs tend to think that the jobs of others are secure." This doesn't do anything to the information above. For one thing, there's nothing that talks about a worker's perception of their coworkers' jobs but only their own. Second, this wouldn't explain why the surveys stayed relatively steady over ten years. Since this doesn't modify anything in the argument, it is the correct answer.

(C) points out that corporate downsizing was anticipated for several years before the mid-1980s. This would mean that the 1984 numbers were already depressed and reflected the fear of upheaval in the market. Being POSSIBLE, this answer is wrong.

(D) claims that most of the major downsizing happened immediately after 1984, which would allow employee confidence to rebound by 1994. Also possible. Also wrong.

(E) points to a general optimism in the 1990s, which could certainly prop up employee confidence, despite the outlook being bleak. Also possible. Also wrong.

Does that help?