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#32721
Complete Question Explanation

Resolve the Paradox—CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

The stimulus describes a paradoxical finding. Taking a seminar for building organizational skills makes us more organized, but not necessarily more efficient:

  • ..... Cause ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... Effect/Cause ..... ..... ..... ..... Effect
    organizational skills seminar ..... :arrow: ..... more organized ..... :arrow: ..... more efficient
Our job is to explain why efficiency and organizational skills may not correlate as closely as we would expect. Before attacking the answers, try to explain the discrepancy in your own words. There could be several causes for it: in certain professions, for instance, organizational skills may not promote higher levels of efficiency. What if our desire to be organized turns into an obsessive disorder, making us less efficient? Whatever the cause may be, it is essential to formulate at least one suitable prephrase that would explain the paradox. Even if your prephrase does not “match” the correct answer choice precisely, it will provide an excellent “filter” to help you evaluate each answer choice quickly and efficiently.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice only addresses a narrow subset of people: those who are the most efficient in the workplace are not among the most organized. It is still unclear why becoming more organized does not necessarily make us more efficient. Answer choice (A) does not preclude the possibility that the two qualities correlate up to a certain degree, nor does it explain why they do not correlate at the top.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice suggests a bias among those taking seminars for building organizational skills: people who are not particularly organized do not take such seminars. This might explain why people remain disorganized, but it fails to explain why becoming more organized does not make us more efficient.

Answer choice (C): The target audience of most seminars for building organizational skills is entirely irrelevant to the question at hand.

Answer choice (D): If most people who take a seminar for building organizational skills are not terribly organized to begin with, no wonder they become more organized as a result of taking the seminar. This still does not explain why they don’t become more efficient.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. If most people who take a seminar for building organizational skills consequently expend a great amount of time organizing their activities, this would explain why their efficiency does not improve as a result. After all, becoming “efficient” means we can accomplish more in less time. If we start spending more time organizing our activities, then we would indeed become more organized—but not necessarily more efficient.
 lday4
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#25181
I landed on E after going back and forth between D and E. E eventually seemed like the best answer choice, but how do we know that people "spending a great amount of time organizing their activities" is them not becoming more efficient. My thought was they could have been spending the time doing something else before, we don't know that this is them not improving in efficiency. Is that reasoning off?

Thanks!
 David Boyle
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#25388
lday4 wrote:I landed on E after going back and forth between D and E. E eventually seemed like the best answer choice, but how do we know that people "spending a great amount of time organizing their activities" is them not becoming more efficient. My thought was they could have been spending the time doing something else before, we don't know that this is them not improving in efficiency. Is that reasoning off?

Thanks!

Hello lday4,

What you say may be possible, but as a rule, we tend to equate efficiency with getting things done fast. Maybe taking ten times as long to do things is somehow more efficient if.....you are actually doing a hundred times more things in that time period, than you used to. (So you might be getting ten times more efficient use out of each minute you spend, say.) But that seems rather strained without some further information or explanation, so answer E is the best answer.

Hope this helps,
David
 lday4
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#25394
It does - thanks!
 PianolessPianist
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#57009
Hi

I still don't understand why A is not a legitimate answer. After all, if A is true, it demonstrates conclusively that there is no necessary correlation between organization and efficiency. Since the implied contradiction in the stimulus is based on the expectation that greater organization implies greater efficiency, and this expectation is removed by A, why is A not a viable answer?
In fact, it seems A might even be better than E since, as the previous poster mentioned, the fact that people are spending more time organizing their activities does not necessarily mean that they are less efficient at performing those activities.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

thanks!
 PianolessPianist
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#57010
PianolessPianist wrote:Hi

I still don't understand why A is not a legitimate answer. After all, if A is true, it demonstrates conclusively that there is no necessary correlation between organization and efficiency. Since the implied contradiction in the stimulus is based on the expectation that greater organization implies greater efficiency, and this expectation is removed by A, why is A not a viable answer?
In fact, it seems A might even be better than E since, as the previous poster mentioned, the fact that people are spending more time organizing their activities does not necessarily mean that they are less efficient at performing those activities.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

thanks!

I'll also add that although it's true that A does not tell us why greater organization =/= greater efficiency, it doesn't have to - the question does not ask for an explanation of the discrepancy, but rather a resolution for the implied contradiction.
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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#57347
Hi Pianoless Pianist,

Let's think about the relationship suggested in the stimulus. In the stimulus, we are comparing an individuals past organizational skills to their current organizational skills. The stimulus claims that despite an improvement in organizational skills, individuals aren't becoming more efficient as compared to their individual past efficiency. Answer choice (A) talks about how the people who are most efficient are not necessarily the most organized. That's comparing people to others, not to themselves. It's a different sort of comparison---comparing changes in individuals is different than comparing/ranking people.

For any paradox question, we look at what two facts appear to conflict. In this situation it's that while individuals are improving their organization, they aren't improving their efficiency. Answer choice (A) discusses ranking people, but not how people would change/improve over time. We need an answer choice that explains why it would be that organization would improve without efficiency improving. Answer choice (E) addresses the specific population in the stimulus (as opposed to the "most efficient" individuals in answer choice (A)). Answer choice (E) explains why the increase in organization skills didn't increase the seminar takers' efficiency---they were too busy organizing to be efficient.

Hope that helps!
Rachael

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