The following appeared as part of a recommendation by one of the directors of the Beta Company.
“The Alpha Company has just reduced its workforce by laying off fifteen percent of its employees in all divisions and at all levels, and it is encouraging early retirement for other employees. As you know, the Beta Company manufactures some products similar to Alpha’s, but our profits have fallen over the last few years. To improve Beta’s competitive position, we should try to hire a significant number of Alpha’s former workers, since these experienced workers can provide valuable information about Alpha’s successful methods, will require little training, and will be particularly motivated to compete against Alpha.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
The argument above asserts that the Alpha Company fired fifteen percent of its employees and, therefore, could have a better competitive position by hiring those people. While the statement, at a glance, seems like a solid argument there are a few assumptions with which the director of Beta Company has made his or her conclusion. Hence, I find that the argument is flawed and unconvincing. I will explain in further detail in the upcoming paragraphs.
To begin with, the author asserts that hiring Alpha’s former employees would be advantageous to Beta assuming that what they have to offer is better than what the employees at Beta are putting on the table. These newly hired employees could probably learn more from this company’s workers than vice versa. This is an irrational presumption that will not only prove costly to the business but also be ineffective. Moreover the assumption that these former employees of Alpha’s would want to compete against Alpha is a weak one, in that there could be other possibilities where these workers left the company satisfied.
Secondly, the director assumes that Alpha is in a better competitive position than Beta is. If Beta is competing with a company whose quality of work is below that of Beta, its performance will diminish, causing its clients to look in other directions where they might be able to find better products. If a company considers itself competent it should compete with those that are worth competing with. Furthermore, the director assumes that Alpha is the only company that is competing against this business enterprise, when there could be many others getting ahead because of Beta’s narrowed focus.
In sum, Beta’s profits could be improved by taking the statements above into consideration and taking a survey of the kind of customers who would buy the kinds of products Beta has to offer. Understanding what these people what from these products and improving product or creating a stronger, faster and better product, is what this company needs to do to climb the ladder of success and stay on top.
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