First Essays, Comments? : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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15 Aug 2011, 14:07
First try, taking the GMAT very soon. I very much appreciate any comments. Thank you!

AWA ESSAYS: Analyze Argument
ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in a newspaper editorial:
"The claims of some politicians that we are on the brink of an energy crisis are misguided. We have enough oil in reserve to see us through any production shortage and the supply of in-ground oil is in no danger of running out any time soon. There is thus no need to set aside the technology and infrastructure of a century of oil-based energy."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

The argument claims, rather misguidedly, that politicians are wrong to believe that we are on the brink of an energy crisis. The author states that current oil reserves, supply, technology, and infrastructure are adequate at this time and that there is no need to diversify the means of energy production away from oil. I believe that the argument is very weak because it ignores long-term supply issues, production disruptions or instability leading to shortages, and the idea that diversifying our energy supply serves no real benefit over the current situation. This argument contains some valid reasoning but is flawed, perhaps even delusional, due to its shortsightedness and the fact that it ignores important points in each of its premises.

Firstly, the argument purposefully uses vague language when describing the in-ground supply of oil when it describes it as "in no danger of running out any time soon". The author wants us to ignore the fact that it is impossible to tell exactly what current reservoir reserves are. If the author had been able to defend his premise with an actual amount left in the ground and expected demand increases the point would be valid but as it stands the point cannot be taken seriously.

Secondly, the argument brings up a valid point that current reserves are sufficient in seeing us through production shortages, however, the point completely ignores the fact that a great deal of oil comes from areas of the world that are prone to production or supply disruptions manifested through sabotage, terrorism, or government instability. A current example of this is the hundreds of thousands of daily oil production that has ceased to be brought to market from Libya since its revolution. The argument does not face the fact that even though small scale production shortages will not cause an economic effect that much more

Finally, the most important point that invalidates this argument is the lack of reasons against diversifying away from oil. As it stands the author provides vague and misleading arguments in support of maintaining an oil-based energy supply as valid reasons to not "set aside current the technology and infrastructure" but completely ignores any potential benefits to diversifying the ways in which we produce energy. Simply because it is not needed "any time soon" does not invalidate the fact that it will be needed and that the current system is unsustainable.

In conclusion, the argument in unconvincing due to its dubiousness and its shortsighted view of the current facts. In order to strengthen the argument the author should no longer ignore the oppositions viewpoint and should provide greater support for what he is arguing.

AWA ESSAYS: Analyze Issues
ESSAY QUESTION:
"Employees always perform better when given a say in determining the boundaries of their roles within a company."
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

Many people believe that employees always perform better when given a say in determining the boundaries of their roles within a company. Others argue that it would very much depend on the type of employee and the type of company as to whether it would increase or decrease their performance. Both sides have valid points regarding this issue but overall the average employee will perform better when they are allowed to determine their boundaries.

Firstly, an employee that is allowed to determine their role's boundaries will use this as an opportunity to branch out into areas of the company they would otherwise be afraid to get involved in. A common perception among employees of a company that had strict boundaries would be that if someone went outside of their normal role they would be stepping on other people's toes and could potentially be reprimanded for this. However, a company that supported this by allowing flexibility would see performance increase due to more well-rounded and diversely experienced employees.

Secondly, a company with employee-driven boundaries would undoubtedly have higher morale than a strict company. This would be due to the fact that employees would not feel trapped in their current roles and would be able to diversify their experience in other areas. One of the largest tolls on employee morale is the repetition an employee can find in a strict role, therefore, a flexible company would be encouraging their employees to branch out and find something that interests them to work on.

Perhaps the best explanation for an employee increasing their performance in a flexible role is that a work force becomes more mobile if they are allowed to define their own boundaries. This mobility or flexibility allows companies to transition different economic periods by transferring people between roles. This in turn increases employee retention rate by allowing a company to transfer and grow its employees. A more experienced and well-developed employee will certainly be expected to perform better.

In conclusion, although it depends on the employee and the company, in general, giving employees a say over the boundaries in their roles allows the to perform better. I believe that this system molds well-rounded employees, increases company morale, and provides for a flexible work-force all of these leading to increased performance and helping to improve a company.
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