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Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please!

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Senior Manager
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Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please! [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2010, 12:40
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.

___________________________________

Hello all!

I need your valuable opinions on my essay. I know that I need improvement I just need to know on what I need improvement. I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Mari
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Re: Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please! [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2011, 15:21
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First of all, this is a pretty darn good Argument Essay and I think it would realistically score a 5/6 on the GMAT. That being said, you asked for tips on improvement, so here they are:

The first two paragraphs are absolutely perfect and are the model for how to form an intro and body paragraph on test day. The third paragraph, while it keeps the same tone, begins to make this a business-oriented instead of a logic-oriented analysis. This is one of the traps that GMAT test-takers fall into. Remember that you're not concerned with this "alpha" and "beta" companies as real companies, and you're not being called upon to show your business expertise or wisdom; instead, you're being asked to put your analytical, Critical Reasoning skills into essay form. Think of the more inherent Assumptions in this argument: 1) That Alpha wasn't laying off these workers because they are the least qualified workers; 2) That these workers will in fact be easy to train -- all we're told is that Beta "manufactures some products similar to" Alpha, which could mean many things without clarification, and which leaves open the possibility that the laid-off workers are totally untrained in what Beta does; 3) That Beta is in a position to hire workers even though its profits are falling off and maybe it should follow Alpha's lead and downsize.

In your final paragraph, you make the common mistake of trying to strengthen the Beta Company, and not strengthen this given Argument. Pretend not that you're in the boardroom at Beta and proposing a better solution; pretend that you're a yes-man to the director of Beta, and he hands you this paragraph as a draft. Your job isn't to tell him what he should have said otherwise; it's to tell him what clearer evidence he needs to include to make his conclusion the right one. For instance, this argument would be strengthened if we knew specifically that Alpha's owners made bad investments in unrelated industries, so their layoffs were of otherwise talented workers who were working successfully up until their firing. Furthermore, it would be strengthened if we knew that the layoffs happened largely in an area where Beta directly competes with Alpha, so that they will in fact be easy to train. These kinds of strengtheners help the current conclusion, instead of suggesting an alternative one.

Three big points, then:

1) It's pretty darn good an essay, as is.
2) Focus on the logic, not on the business reality.
3) Strengthen the given argument; never suggest an alternative strategy.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please! [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2011, 05:27
AdamKnewton wrote:
First of all, this is a pretty darn good Argument Essay and I think it would realistically score a 5/6 on the GMAT. That being said, you asked for tips on improvement, so here they are:

The first two paragraphs are absolutely perfect and are the model for how to form an intro and body paragraph on test day. The third paragraph, while it keeps the same tone, begins to make this a business-oriented instead of a logic-oriented analysis. This is one of the traps that GMAT test-takers fall into. Remember that you're not concerned with this "alpha" and "beta" companies as real companies, and you're not being called upon to show your business expertise or wisdom; instead, you're being asked to put your analytical, Critical Reasoning skills into essay form. Think of the more inherent Assumptions in this argument: 1) That Alpha wasn't laying off these workers because they are the least qualified workers; 2) That these workers will in fact be easy to train -- all we're told is that Beta "manufactures some products similar to" Alpha, which could mean many things without clarification, and which leaves open the possibility that the laid-off workers are totally untrained in what Beta does; 3) That Beta is in a position to hire workers even though its profits are falling off and maybe it should follow Alpha's lead and downsize.

In your final paragraph, you make the common mistake of trying to strengthen the Beta Company, and not strengthen this given Argument. Pretend not that you're in the boardroom at Beta and proposing a better solution; pretend that you're a yes-man to the director of Beta, and he hands you this paragraph as a draft. Your job isn't to tell him what he should have said otherwise; it's to tell him what clearer evidence he needs to include to make his conclusion the right one. For instance, this argument would be strengthened if we knew specifically that Alpha's owners made bad investments in unrelated industries, so their layoffs were of otherwise talented workers who were working successfully up until their firing. Furthermore, it would be strengthened if we knew that the layoffs happened largely in an area where Beta directly competes with Alpha, so that they will in fact be easy to train. These kinds of strengtheners help the current conclusion, instead of suggesting an alternative one.

Three big points, then:

1) It's pretty darn good an essay, as is.
2) Focus on the logic, not on the business reality.
3) Strengthen the given argument; never suggest an alternative strategy.

Hope that helps!


Thank you Adam, for taking the time to give a detailed evaluation on my essay! :cool It really helps.
_________________

Thank you for your kudoses Everyone!!!


"It always seems impossible until its done."
-Nelson Mandela

Re: Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please!   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2011, 05:27
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Analysis of an argument! Need some opinions please!

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