Hour rose at an average annual rate of 11 percent

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hour) rose at an average annual rate of 1.1 percent between 1973 and 1989, com- pared with 2.4 percent in the preceding 25-year period. Proponents of IT argued (20) that it takes both time and a critical mass of investment for IT to yield benefits, and some suggested that growth figures for the 1990’s proved these benefits were finally being realized. They also argued (25) that measures of productivity ignore what would have happened without investments in IT—productivity gains might have been even lower. There were even claims that IT had improved the performance of the (30) service sector significantly, although mac- roeconomic measures of productivity did not reflect the improvement. But some observers questioned why, if IT had conferred economic value, it did (35) not produce direct competitive advantages for individual firms. Resource-based theory offers an answer, asserting that, in general, firms gain competitive advan- tages by accumulating resources that are (40) economically valuable, relatively scarce, and not easily replicated. According to a recent study of retail firms, which con- firmed that IT has become pervasive and relatively easy to acquire, IT by (45) itself appeared to have conferred little advantage. In fact, though little evidence 26
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of any direct effect was found, the fre- quent negative correlations between IT and performance suggested that IT had (50) probably weakened some firms’ compet- itive positions. However, firms’ human resources, in and of themselves, did explain improved performance, and some firms gained IT-related advan- (55) tages by merging IT with complementary resources, particularly human resources. The findings support the notion, founded in resource-based theory, that competi- tive advantages do not arise from easily (60) replicated resources, no matter how impressive or economically valuable they may be, but from complex, intan- gible resources. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q22: The passage is primarily concerned with A. describing a resource and indicating various methods used to study it B. presenting a theory and offering an opposing point of view C. providing an explanation for unexpected findings D. demonstrating why a particular theory is unfounded E. resolving a disagreement regarding the uses of a technology Answer: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q23: The passage suggests that proponents of resource-based theory would be likely to explain IT’s inability to produce direct competitive advantages for individual firms by pointing out that --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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