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CAT Paragraph Summary Question 17

Question 17:

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

Privacy-challenged office workers may find it hard to believe, but open-plan offices and cubicles were invented by architects and designers who thought that to break down the social walls that divide people, you had to break down the real walls, too. Modernist architects saw walls and rooms as downright fascist. The spaciousness and flexibility of an open plan would liberate homeowners and office dwellers from the confines of boxes. But companies took up their idea less out of a democratic ideology than a desire to pack in as many workers as they could. The typical open-plan office of the first half of the 20th century was a white-collar assembly line. Cubicles were interior designers’ attempt to put some soul back in.

  1. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out the way their utopian inventors intended, as they became tools for exploitation of labor.
  2. Wall-free office spaces could have worked out the way their utopian inventors intended had companies cared for workers' satisfaction.
  3. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out as desired and therefore cubicles came into being.
  4. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out as companies don’t believe in democratic ideology.
Option: 1

This is moderate difficulty question. The passage has two parts, the first speaks of the dismantling of the walls to overcome all divisions, the second speaks of how something else resulted from it because of selfish business interest.

Option 1 is the best choice; it says that the intention was to make things democratic, but by putting in as many people as possible in cubicles, it became a tool of exploitation of labour.

Option 2 goes out because workers’ satisfaction is a little far-fetched. People might work in confined spaces but they could still be satisfied with their work

Option 3 is quite close, but the passage talks of intention of the companies. The inventor’s idea was to dismantle barriers but the organizations took it as a tool to exploit labour. It did not work out because they did not want it to work out that way.

Option 4 too misses on highlighting the exploitation of labour point, something that is critical in the passage.

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