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AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:)

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Joined: 26 Oct 2010
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AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:) [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2011, 05:30

I know it may be time consuming for you to read through this, but if someone were to find it out of the goodness of his or her heart to give my essay some feedback, then I would greatly appreciate it!

Be honest, I can take it, especially about the fictional reference to Homer simpson I made in the opinion essay. I need to know if something like that would fly.

Analysis of an Argument

"No employee of any business, public or private, should have complete autonomy; even employees at the highest level of management require some supervision.”

With the argument, that no employee of any business, regardless of his or her status in the business, should work without some form of supervision, I definitely agree for a few reasons.

To begin, in public or private companies, employees with high powered positions, for example, CEOs, presidents, and the like, should definitely have supervisors at some level. If these top ranked employees were to go unsupervised, this could lead to abuse of their power. Not to say this will always happen, but in some instances in the past it has. For example, it has been known that high ranked employees have stolen company money to live luxurious lifestyles: such as buying expensive jewelry, flying corporate jets to exotic destinations, and buying various other unnecessary, but expensive things. In addition to stealing money, high level employees have been involved in illegal acts to increase stock value, and profits of their company. Take Enron for instance, it was known that high level employees manipulated the energy flow to most of California a number of years ago, causing a brownout. This in turn increased energy prices, and profits for Enron. A plethora of other instances such as these exist, to furhter illustrate this point, however these examples will suffice.

A second reason is that, especially in public companies, the make-up should reflect that of our society, which is democratic. Public companies are owned, in part, by stock holders. Since these people own part of the company, they should get a say in what decisions are made by the company. If the highest level employees make all the decisions with out some kind of supervision, then that takes away the voices of the stockholders, and their influence in the company. This may lead to a decrease in stock value, and lower interest in owning the stock in general.

A third, and most important reason, is that any employee who lacks supervision will likely decrease his or her work productivity. If someone knows that he or she is not being supervised, then what motivation does he or she have to work up to his or her expectations? A prime example is that of Homer Simpson. Although, he is a fictional character, and likely an exaggeration of reality, he shows us that a person without supervision can lack any motivation to perform his or her job. Homer often sleeps during shifts, causes breakdowns, which he is responsible for preventing, and calls in "sick" more often that he should. In reality it is unlikely that someone would become this unproductive without being fired, but, the fact that he or she is unsupervised, may lead to a similar lack of motivation that Mr. Simpson shows.

Ultimately, an employee without supervision is likely to take that position for granted, and could be at the expense of the company that he or she works for.

Analysis of an issue

"Manned space flight is costly and dangerous. Moreover the recent success of a series of unmanned space probe and satellite missions has demonstrated that useful information can be gathered without the costs or risks associated with sending men or women into space. Therefore, we should invest our resources into unmanned spaceflight."

The underlying reasoning of the argument that we should invest our resources in unmanned spaceflight rather than manned, is flawed for a number of reasons.

First of all, the author begins with the statement, "Manned space flight is costly and dangerous." This leads the reader to ask the question, "Why is it costly and dangerous?" In response to this question there is no support provided. Therefore, the argument is flawed because it doesn't explain why or how manned space flight is either costly or dangerous. If the authour were to provide examples from the past of costs or hazards from space journeys that illustrated this point - such as, the amount of money spent during the appolo missions, the space ship that exploded after lift-off in the 80s, or the shuttle that disintegrated upon reentry in the 2000's - then a reader would be more inclined to believe this statement.

A second point to be contested comes with the assumption that we can gather the same quality of information from unmanned missions compared to the quality of information gathered from manned missions. The author states that recently there were a series of successful unmanned missions that gather useful information; however, this statement is very subjective. What the author considers to be useful, may not be considered to be useful by other space experts. Especially if this information is much less useful than what could have been gathered by humans. Take for example the Mars rover missions. These rovers are the first to be sent to Mars by humans, but if a man or a women were present on the surface, the quality and quantity of information gathered would be far greater. A robot with cameras and tools can only see and collect so much information. However, the robot could never be able to put things into the context of which a human in the same situation could.

A third and most important flaw with this argument is the assumption that, we should be investing any resources in space flight at all. It may be true that unmanned space flight is a better use of resources than manned, but this is assuming that either are a useful investment in the first place. The author assumes that there are no other better uses of resources than space flight in general. If the author were to compare the use of resources in space flight to the use of resources for debt reduction, the increasing of tax breaks, or implementation of social benefits programs, and show that space flight is more important, then the authors point would become valid. However, these examples, are much more likely to be of more concern than space exploration to the public, and are much more likely to be better uses of resources than space flight programs.

In conclusion, the author neglects to provide reasons or examples that support some of his or her statements, leading the reader to question the validity of the argument.

Thanks a million!

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Re: AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:) [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2011, 05:17
Jon, I liked your analysis of the argument (actually, I wrote my as well, just for training :). The only weakness I see is too thin opening and final paragraphs. IMHO, they shall contain more 'meat', especially the closing paragraph, which is the conclusion of your essay.
The statement requires that any public or private employee at any level have some supervision. The argument sounds extreme (and I will address that), but overall I agree with it.

First, the higher we climb on social or business ladder, the bigger is sphere of our influence on other people's life (directly or indirectly). At the high levels of public hierarchy, the power becomes virtually absolute and that causes problems more often than brings benefits. There are vast examples of such over-abundance of power and its severe negative consequences: Ludovic XVI the King of France and his wife were not bound by virtually any limitations in their life, exercising all their dreams and whimps, while neglecting French economy and poor conditions of ordinary people. Than in turn caused massive civil unrest known as French revolution which limited the power of kings, creating some sort of supervision through introduction of the parliament. That is exactly that the statement claims - even the most important and influencable people in our life needs some sort of supervision.

Second, supervision not only punish for mistakes, it also helps to prevent them. One of important factors why democratic societies are generally doing much better than monarchies of various kinds (be it a classical monarchy in Morocco or a pseudo-democratic monarchy in Central Asia Soviet Republics) is presence of adequate feedback for any decision or event, which occurs in the country. Normally, mass media and various NGOs serve for that purpose, 'supervising' the country political and business elite and advicing them on the problems and issues. Such approach ensures that doubtful and problematic issues are brought up at light and considered in a thorough way before the final decision is taken, thus ensuring various options are considered. Monarchies lack such supervision of their 'top management'; therefore they are less efficient in many cases because they cannot consider all available options.

Of course, too much supervision is just as harmful as no supervision at all. A manager intruding in any matter of low-level employees will only cause job dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and poor engagement about his or her staff.

In conclusion, while the concept of supervision, when executed in abundance contains drawbacks, it is much more beneficial and healthy for both public and private sectors than its absence. Throughout the history, there were too many examples when absolute power, the power without any limitation or supervision, caused devastating results.
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Re: AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:) [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2011, 18:17
Thanks for the feedback Vorskl, I agree, I should have put more into the intro and conclusion.
Re: AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:)   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2011, 18:17
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AWA feedback please, GMAT next thursday! Thanks:)

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