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Please provide rating / feedback - test in 4 days - yikkes!

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Please provide rating / feedback - test in 4 days - yikkes! [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2010, 22:14
I am literally desperate here for some essay bashing.

Have the exam in 4 days and this is my first AWA attempt. PLEASE provide rating / any kind of suggestions for improving this. Thank you so much!

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Argument ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in an article in a human resources magazine:

"Six months ago, in an experiment aimed at boosting worker productivity, Company Z started providing free gourmet lunches to its employees. The Company hoped that these office lunches would encourage employees to remain in the building during lunch-hour and motivate employees to work harder throughout the day. A survey found that soon after the lunch program was implemented, the average number of hours worked by most Company Z employees increased dramatically. During this same period, the Company's profits also increased substantially. Thus, it is safe to say that the lunch program was a huge success and that Company Z should make the program permanent."

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.


YOUR RESPONSE:
The argument concludes that the lunch program that Company Z introduced 6 months ago was a huge success and that Company Z should make the program permanent. It is based on the premise that the program boosted worker productivity by keeping employees on the company premises during lunch-hour and motivating them to work harder throughout the day. Furthermore, a survey found the average number of hours worked by most Company Z employees increased dramatically; during the same period, the company's profits also increased substantially. The argument is flawed due to atleast two questionable assumptions.

Firstly, the survey results, which the argument is based on, shows an increase in the average number of hours worked by employees. This is equated to an increase in productivity. This survey data is suspect. For example, there may be a small group of people who worked longer hours, focussing on on certain highly profitable projects, where as others worked the same number of hours as before. Furthermore, it is important to know how these hours were calculated? If they were solely based on the numbers of hours employees remained in the office, then this surevey does not hold much merit - most of them could have been staying in because they did not have to go out to buy lunch, and not working during that "lunch-hour". However, this does not prove that they are actually working during those hours.

Secondly, the conclusion is based on the assumption that the lunch program helped to increase profitability during the 6 months that is was introduced. There could be a number of other reasons that could have led to this substantial increase in profits during those 6 months. For example, an overall improvement in economy or industry within which Company Z competes may have been the reason for an increase in profitability. If that is the case, the lunch program is neglegible, and its success can not be correlated with the increase in company's profits.

In conclusion, the argument is certainly flawed based on the weakness of the premises and assumptions used. If the author will answer some of the questions raised above, the argument may be strengthened.

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Issue ESSAY QUESTION:
"Since key personal traits that make a good leader are formed during one’s childhood and youth, formal training can only refine rather than cultivate true leaders.”

Explain what you think this quotation means and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with it. Develop your position with reasons and/or specific examples drawn from history, current events, or your own experience, observations, or reading.

YOUR RESPONSE:
The quotations states that since personal traits that make good leaders are formed during one's childhood, formal training can only refine rather than cultivate true leaders. The quotation is a controversial one, but a closer examination reveals that the statement is true.

Firstly, there are many skill that a true leader needs which are nearly impossible to develop in adulthood. For example, being a team player is crucial for leaders. It is a skill that is learnt at an early age by being part of various teams in community, school, college, sports leagues, etc. If one never had that kind of interaction with people growing up, developing a trait like team playing is almost impossible at an older age.

Secondly, leaders depend on instincts that leaders develop since an early age by being placed in certain situations. For example, if a child was in charge of certain tasks growing up, he would have learnt how to cope with situations when he was not able to fulfill his duties on time. Such instincts are refined over age and are necessary for true leaders who deal with various situations that there are no clear instructions for. No formal training can teach someone such knowledge embedded in experience.

Some may argue that there are organizations out there that specialize in teaching and developing leadership skills in people. Furthermore, there are millions of self-help books available to achieve the same goal. Moreover, these tools work for people who have some foundation of the skills required, and are refining those skills. The success of cultivating a skill like team building for an adult who has no understanding or appreciation for it is almost impossible.

In conclusion, while arguments can be made for both sides, I agree with the statement that formal training can only refine rather cultivate true leaders, since the key personal traits that make good leaders are formed during one's childhood.
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Re: Please provide rating / feedback - test in 4 days - yikkes! [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 22:10
Somone please be kind enough to reply. I am sweating.

Exam in 3 days!
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Re: Please provide rating / feedback - test in 4 days - yikkes! [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2010, 17:27
I think your Argument essay was good. There's a structure, you have two points with accompanying examples. I would just strengthen the conclusion by reiterating the points and fattening the paragraph a little more.

For the Issue essay, I would not repeat the quote word for word but try to make some slight modifications in the first paragraph. I think your use of the word Moreover is misplaced. Perhaps you meant However? Also, it might be possible to give more concrete real life examples, currently your essay is more theoretical.

Overall I think both essays are fine. I'm no expert, but I think you'd get a score of of at least 4, probably 5.
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Re: Please provide rating / feedback - test in 4 days - yikkes!   [#permalink] 22 Jul 2010, 17:27
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