1. Section 1
You are about to hear a telephone conversation between a man and a woman about a rental property.
First, you have some time to look at questions 1 to 7. Now listen carefully and answer questions 1 to 7.
Receptionist: Central Realty, Joe speaking. How can I help you?
Customer: Yes, hello Joe. I've got a problem a complaint I wish to register. Who should I speak to?
Receptionist: You'll want to speak to Tracy, the residential manager. Just a moment and I'll put you through.
Tracy: Hello, this is Tracy. I understand your rent is going to be increased.
Customer: Yes, this is why I'm calling. I was told that my rent would not be increased for the length of my six-month contract which I signed only 4 months ago. What's going on, is my landlord allowed to do this?
Tracy: I see. Yes, okay, that seems strange, look. Can I take down some of your particulars, and I'll register a formal complaint to the landlord on your behalf?
Customer: Yes, sure. That'd be good.
Tracy: Firstly, name and address contact details.
Customer: Yes, Jane McSweeny. That's M-C-S-W-E-E-N-Y. 3 Maugher Street. That's M-A-U-G-H-E-R Street Winderee 3355.
Tracy: And the phone there?
Customer: Yes, you contact me on 334756 extension 3176. I generally arrive home by 6:00 in the evening, so you can call me around that time but not after nine. Oh, sorry, 8:30, because that's the time I leave for work.
Tracy: Okay, so I should note down that the problem is that your landlord want to raise your rent and when did you first move in?
Customer: Yes, well, the contract began on August 1st and oh, hang on, sorry, that's the ending date. We actually moved in on February 1st.
Before you listen to the rest of the conversation, you have some time to look at questions 8 to 10. Now listen carefully and answer questions 8 to 10.
Tracy: Okay, good. Now it need be you will have to send a letter to the Rental Tenancy Board but as I said first let us approach your landlord on your behalf and see if we can work out the problem before it gets to that situation. I'd be very surprised if you have to send a letter. 95% of these kinds of problems get solved early on.
Tracy: Now, if you have any problems, you need to discuss. Feel free to come in and talk with the general manager. In the meantime, if you would just wait until we receive an answer from your landlord. We'll be able to then plan our next step.
Customer: Is there anything else I could be doing?
Tracy: Well, you could write a letter to the RTB listing all the advances that happened from your point of view but as I say hold on to it, don't send it unless we have to. Well, that's about it for now. Thanks for your call. I'm sure we can sort this out.
Customer: Thanks very much for your help. I hope we can sort it out, too. Bye for now!
Tracy: Yes, bye!
That is the end of section one. You now have 30 seconds to check your answers. Now turn to section 2.
2. Section 2
You are going to hear a talk given by Dr. Wallace.
First, you have some time to look at questions 11 to 20. Now listen to the tape and answer questions.
Good afternoon. I'm glad you all found your way here. Now I'd like Dr. Wallace to introduce us to the Arboretum.
Good afternoon. Although at first glance the Arboretum may look like a park. It is a research and teaching facility that also provides a place for people to develop a positive relationship with nature. When the university of Wisconsin Madison purchased the land mostly during the 1930s much of it bore little resemblance to its resettlement state. It had been turned into cultivated fields and pastures that had fallen into disuse. The university arboretum committee decided early on to try to bring back the plants and animals that had lived on the land before its development, though they may not have anticipated it at that time. The commitee's foresight resulted in the Arboretum's ongoing status as a pioneer restoration and management of ecological communities, in focusing on the re-establishment of historic landscapes particularly those that predated large-scale human settlement.
They introduced a whole new concept in ecology. Ecological restoration the process of returning an ecosystem or piece of landscape to a previous usually more natural condition. Madison was a fast-growing city in the 1920s. Fortunately, some leading citizens recognized the need to preserved open space for Madison's residents. Most of the Arboretum's current holdings came from purchases these civic leaders made during the Great Depression. In addition to inexpensive land, the depression brought a ready supply of hands to work it, between 1935 and 1941, crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps were stationed at the Arboretum and provided most of the labour needed to begin establishing ecological communities within the Arboretum. Efforts to restore or create historic ecological communities have continued over the years with the result that the Arboretum's collection of restored ecosystems is not only the oldest but also the most extensive such collection.
In addition to these native plants and animal communities, the Arboretum like most are buried as traditional collections of labelled plants arranged in garden like displays. These horticultural collections featuring trees and shrubs of the world are the state's largest woody plant collections.
This is the end of section 2. You now have half a minute to check your answers.
3. Section 3
In this section, you hear 2 students discussing a survey they have to write as an assignment.
First, you have some time to look at questions 21 to 30. Now listen to the conversation and answer questions 21 to 30.
Anna: How is your market research project going, George?
George: Very well. Actually Anna, I've just got the results of the survey back and so now I have to draw some conclusions from the information I've collected.
Anna: That's good! I'm still writing my questionnaire, in fact, I'm starting to panic as the project deadline in 2 weeks and I don't seem to be making any progress at all.
George: What is your topic?
Anna: Forms of transportation in the city. What about you?
George: I've been finding out people's attitudes to the amount of violence on television.
Anna: That's interesting! What do your results?
George: Well. As I said, I haven't finished writing my conclusions yet, but it seems most people think there is a problem. Unfortunately, there is no real agreement on the action that needs to be taken, nearly everyone surveyed said that there was too much violence on TV. A lot of people complained that American police serials and Chinese kung-fu films are particularly violent. The main objection seems to be that although a lot of people get shot stabbed, decapitated and so on. Films never shown the consequences of this violence, although people die and get horribly injured. Nobody seems to suffer or live with the injuries. Any children watching might take the heroes of these programs are role models and copy their behaviour.
Anna: So, what did most people suggest should be done?
George: A lot of people were concerned about how these films affect children. They are particularly worried that children will try to behave like the Stars. The survey shows that violent programs should be broadcast after 10:00 PM when most children are already in bed. There is also a significant minority of people who feel that violent films should be banned altogether.
Anna: Well, how did people feel about the violence on news broadcasts?
George: Most of the responses I have looked at have felt that violence on news broadcasts is more acceptable as it's real, although it's unpleasant, it is important to keep in touch with reality, still many people thought what that it would be better to restrict violent scenes too late viewing.
Anna: Your survey sounds very good. How many people filled in it?
George: I gave out 120 and I got to 70 back.
Anna: That's a very high rate of return. Who did you give your questionnaires to?
George: I gave a copy to every student at my hall of residence and a few to friends from other colleges.
Anna: Don't you think that this will influence your results?
George: How do you?
Anna: The people in your Hall of residents are all about the same age, they're all students and from similar backgrounds. Therefore, it is likely that they will have similar opinions. Your results represent student opinion, not public opinion.
George: So how are you going to do your research?
Anna: Well, I'm going to interview my respondents in the shopping mall, what I'll do is ask people if they have 5 minutes to spare to answer a few questions. If they agree, I will ask them some multiple choice questions and took off their answers on my sheet.
George: Isn't it very difficult to ask meaningful questions using multiple choice?
Anna: Yes, it is. The secret to writing a successful survey is to write simple multiple choice questions that target the information you're looking for, there. It's better to write a lot of short specific questions than longer general ones.
George: So that's why it is taking you so long to write.
Anna: Yeah, but I hope I'll be ready to start interviewing at the weekend.
That is the end of section 3. You now have half a minute to check your answers. Now turn to section 4.
4. Section 4
You will hear a talk about the practice of company outsourcing.
First, you have some time to look at questions 31 to 40. Now listen carefully and answer questions 31 to 40.
Welcome class to your very first lecture in this series on Business in the Modern World conducted by myself, Dr Toby Bennett. Today we will be looking into the practice of company outsourcing, using TCP Technologies as a case study.
Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this practice, I will give you a summative definition: company outsourcing involves the contracting of various business activities by one company to another. This practice will sometimes occur from a western company to a party based in a Third World country, the rationale being to make significant financial savings on lower international labour rates and to potentially increase quality.
Now, our case study for today is TCP Technologies - a party located in India that receives outsourced tasks from Western companies. The manager of TCP Technologies is a man called Manjeet Khanna who has personally developed a series of aims and philosophies by which the company is expected to operate. He claims that the most important of these philosophies is to create a workplace where each individual member has the opportunity to contribute their opinion to the operations of the company. That is to say that he found it important to develop a democratic environment.
As a means of ensuring quality from every individual at TCP Technologies, a grading system has been developed that encourages an ethos of hard work and recognises accomplishment. This grading of individuals is based upon a series of factors such as turnover, hours worked and efficiency. Every month, Khanna publishes the grades on an internal website where staff can access not only their own grades, but also compare it to others. A spirit of playful competitiveness has developed through this method, which has resulted in increased efficiency and turnover across the company. Khanna also saw it as essential to develop a culturally diverse group of employees as a means of presenting a multi-faceted image that would appeal to a host of potential employees from across the globe. This cultural openness has not only increased the quantity of incoming contracted opportunities by 7%, but has also benefited the company itself significantly. A level of transparency now exists that had not before been apparent.
According to questionnaires carried out recently, these newly introduced measures have significantly increased the rate of staff satisfaction, which has subsequently led to an increase of 32% in the company’s income. These figures are truly admirable and serve as a testament to the measures that Khanna has introduced to the workplace at TCP Technologies. In a recent interview published by the Economist, he declared, ‘The Figures speak for themselves - my system works!’
When asked if he had any advice for companies on methods they could employ to streamline workflow and increase turnover, he replied, “It’s simple, really. A company must see itself not as one entity comprised of nameless components, but instead as a living organism composed of cells, each one essential to the functioning of the whole. I suggest that the motto by which your management operates will be ‘employee first’.”
Many benefits have been reaped from the aforementioned changes in management style, such as a significant decrease in staff turnover. This improvement alone has solved many problems that had before stunted the growth of the company. A lot of these improvements came from the realisation that the solution does not have to be produced internally, but can come from any other company. The grading system also immeasurably enhanced the dynamics of the company. The fact that this measuring system is solely produced for staff members and inaccessible by management means that it cannot be used as a judging criterion for promotion.
It has proven itself a relaxed and informal means of stimulating workflow. When asked about specific features of his managing style, Khanna mentioned that it is important for him to respond personally to any complaints filed by staff members. Having found the existing complaints process slow and ineffective, he introduced a new online system that created a direct line of communication between Khanna and all employees of the company.
The complaint form, dubbed by Khanna as a ticket, eradicates the middleman, is easily accessible to all employees online and has an interface that can be instinctively navigated. Any staff-related complaint, such as those relating to air conditioning and food quality, can be submitted directly to Khanna via this online system. Entitlement to vacation is also a popular issue discussed through this forum.
The main benefit of using this system is that staff must include their personal details on the ticket before they are able to submit it. In the past, anonymous complaints had been at the root of much confusion and caused many wasted work hours, so the new system has put a ban on this form of complaint.
That wraps up the lecture for today. Please remember that attendance is mandatory...
That is the end of section 3. You now have half a minute to check your answers.