Joined: 25 Aug 2011
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V40
WE: Operations (Insurance)
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10 Mar 2012, 02:25
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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.
The author states that Compnay Z has implemented a new gourmet lunch program in order to reduce the number of employees leaving the presmises at lunch time and to increase productivity and motivate employees.The program seems to have positively impacted the employee work houtrs and the profits of the company Z. The author concludes that the gourmet program has therefore been successful.Although, prima facie the program does seem to be correlated to the positive turn of events at company Z,the linkages however are just a leap of faith without establishment of a material correlation.Stated this way the argument seems full of assumptions and lacks critical points that may help us evaluate it further.
First, the argument lacks clarity on the computation of number of hours.This is a metric that can be calculated as total number of hours spent in office [ logout time - login time]. Therefore, it is possible that people end up spending more time at lunch and then stretching their work hours. In such a scenario the lunch program will appear to have increase the number of work hours, but in reality people are stretching to get their work completed, which remains just the same with no extra work done in the extra hours. In the absence of any information about the computation of work hours, the conclusion derived in the passage that the lunch has improved the number of work hours can neither be corroborated nor can be considered as a positive impact to company Z.However, had the argument established a clear support for its statement the argument could have been made plausible.
Second, the statement that the lunch program has impacted profits seems full of assumptions and a leap of faith.Profitability is a function of many critical factors - product or service demand or supply, the companies competitive advantage in comparision to its rivals, availability of low cost capital, market ,economy and the regulatory environment to name a few. Nowhere does the argument state that all these were constant factors in the last 6 months when the lunch program was implemented. Moreover, a change to any of these critical factors can impact profitability. Therefore stating that profitability improved due to the introduction of the lunch program without providing a clear picture about the changes to these elements in the last six months makes the argument full of assumptions.Had the argument provided or clearly stated that all other factors that impact the company's profitability remained constant during these six months, the argument would have been tenable.
To conclude, the argument seems weak and unsupported because it does not provide a sound backing for its claims that a lunch program has improved profitability and the number of hours worked. it also fails to consider several critical factors like the ones stated above that could have helped us to evaluate it better. In the absence of these, the argument is flawed,unconvincing and open to discussion.