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# Please rate - Apogee Company

Author Message
Intern
Joined: 30 Aug 2013
Posts: 5

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25 Sep 2013, 01:47
"When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable
than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and
conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve
profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all
employees."

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc

->

The argument that the company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location is weak and unconvincing. The author assumes that conducting all operations from a single location would improve the company's profitability. This might not be true, as it possible that the reason for the decline in profit is not derive from the uncentralization.

In order to strengthen the argument, I would like to conduct a customers survey, checking whether such centralization would cause the customers to decrease the orders from Apogee Company. If it is found that the customers are not planning to decrease their reservations, than it could serve to show that the centralization would improve the company's profitability.
Another thing I would like to review is whether the costs of the field offices are higher than their revenues. If it is found that the costs are higher than the revenues, it could support the centraliziation.

In his argument, the author assumes that the decline in profits derives from the field offices costs, but leaves out the possibility that the profit decline is due to other parameters such as poor service or competition. Moreover, while the argument states that the centralization would maintain better supervision for all the employees, it fails to take into account the fact that in today's modern world the more uncentralized the company is, the better the supervision of employees is performed.

In summary the argument presented is neither sound nor persuasive as it lies on questionable assumptions about the reason the company's profits decline, lacks important data about the customers response as well as the income and costs of the field offices, and fails to take into account possible alternative explanations for the profits decline.
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 188

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25 Sep 2013, 18:55
2
I'd say this is somewhere around a 4. I'd love to see a greater variety in sentence length -- and also follow a basic five paragraph structure... Intro/3 Body/Conclusion.

Hope this helps.

-Brian
_________________

Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Intern
Joined: 30 Aug 2013
Posts: 5

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27 Sep 2013, 12:28
brianlange77 wrote:
I'd say this is somewhere around a 4. I'd love to see a greater variety in sentence length -- and also follow a basic five paragraph structure... Intro/3 Body/Conclusion.

Hope this helps.

-Brian

Thanks Brian.
Can you be more specific about the 3 body paragraphs. If the first is strengthen and the second is weaknes, what should be the third?
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 188

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28 Sep 2013, 17:32
Let me know if my answer is an oversimplification -- but I don't think you should automatically assume that one paragraph is a strengthen and one is a weaken. You might need several points of strength -- or you might want to attack the argument in different ways. You need at least three support paragraphs.

Thoughts?

-Brian
_________________

Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Intern
Joined: 30 Aug 2013
Posts: 5

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01 Oct 2013, 06:46
brianlange77 wrote:
Let me know if my answer is an oversimplification -- but I don't think you should automatically assume that one paragraph is a strengthen and one is a weaken. You might need several points of strength -- or you might want to attack the argument in different ways. You need at least three support paragraphs.

Thoughts?

-Brian

Hi Brian,
Please read my new AWA and tell me what do you think.
p.s: I tried to make it into 5 paragraphs but couldnt find the third support/flaw.

“Neither stronger ethics regulations nor stronger enforcement mechanisms are
necessary to ensure ethical behavior by companies doing business with this
department. We already have a code of ethics that companies doing business with
this department are urged to abide by, and virtually all of these companies have
agreed to follow it. We also know that the code is relevant to the current business
environment because it was approved within the last year, and in direct response to
specific violations committed by companies with which we were then working—not
in abstract anticipation of potential violations, as so many such codes are.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

->

The argument claims that the companies who are doing business with the department are following a certain ethical code that is acceptable by the department. Therefore, there is no need for stronger regulations or stronger mechanisms to ensure the company's ethical behavior. This conclusion is based on the fact that the companies who agreed to follow the ethical code are actually following it. In addition, the author claims that the code is relevant to the current business environment. The author based this claim on the fact that the code was approved within last year in a response to specific violations of the code. Although at first the arguments may seem to make common sense, the author relies on several assumptions that may not necessarily apply to his argument. Hence, the argument is unconvincing and has several flaws.

The first issue to be address is the assumption that the companies who have agreed to follow the code are actually following it. This assumption is weak since it is well known that in today's business environment an agreement which is not enforced tends to be broken. Furthermore, a recent study shows that in the last 10 years 95% of the agreements that were not enforced have been broken. On the contrary, the study shows that only 5% of the agreements that were enforced have been broken. Therefore, without data about the actual number of agreements that were broken or at least their percentage out of the total agreements, this assumption fails to support the author's conclusion.

Second, the argument claims that the code is relevant because it was approved within the last year in direct response to specific violations that committed by the companies that used to work with the department. In this argument the author assumes that the department has encountered enough violations to make the code relevant. However, there is high possibility that the department has not experienced enough violations and therefore the code is irrelevant. If the author had provided evidence that the department has encountered a large number of violations, it could serve to strengthen the argument and make it more convincing.

In conclusion, the argument presented is flawed and not persuasive. It could be considerably strengthened if the author had provided the missing data that I mentioned above. In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all the relevant factors.

Thanks
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 188

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26 Oct 2013, 18:27
I think it's a move in the right direction -- although I think you could easily find a strengthen/weaken opportunity out of the first sentence, no?
Thanks.
-Brian
_________________

Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Senior Manager
Joined: 23 Sep 2015
Posts: 378
Location: France
GMAT 1: 690 Q47 V38
GMAT 2: 700 Q48 V38
WE: Real Estate (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)

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02 May 2016, 23:55
Hi Brian, I doubt you are still around, but if you are I would appreciate to have an opinion on my essay as well.
Thanks alot

---

By stating that because Apogee was more profitable when it had all its operations in one location the company should close down its field offices to improve profitability and better supervise its employees, the author fails to give supporting reasons for the judgment the argument reaches.

First, the argument infers that the lack of profitability is a sufficient reason for closing down field offices. However, it is difficult to assess the soundness of this claim without further evidence. For instance, how materially has profitability decreased and how much a lower profitability can Apogee stomach in its expansion venture? Case in point, if Apogee’s previous profit margin stood at 30% on revenues of €90m and that the current margin stands at 29% on revenues of €180m, profitability would have only decreased marginally while on the other hand, Apogee would have doubled its revenues and increased its market share. This is a dilution that is ultimately palatable.

Second, by stating that the company should close field Offices, the argument assumes that the opening of field offices caused the decrease in profitability and that no other alternative cause could have led to this effect, another assumption for which the author fails to provide evidence. The author could have indeed discussed the absence of such internal forces as poor products or cost management and external factors as seasonality effects on sales or macro related uncertainties on profitability. To bridge the gap, the argument could have also presented sustained profitability of competitors that stuck to a single location. Instead, the author chose to solely depend on assumptions broader in scope than warranted by the evidence presented. As such, a simple correlation, rather than a causal relationship, between lower profitability and the opening of additional field offices cannot be ruled out.

Additionally, the argument contends that centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and maintaining a better supervision on employees. This statement assumes that, the profitability was cannibalized by a compound effect: higher employee costs from field offices and lower revenues– due to an inefficient work environment or worse, bad supervision of employees. While this might be true, the author did not provide evidence in support of the claim. Indeed, without knowing how long it actually takes a field office to operate effectively and turn into profit, it would be unfit to make a rush judgment on the efficiency or lack thereof of the multiple offices. Perhaps in a normal course of business, it takes a field office 2 years to absorb the costs related to new a opening and that the current field offices are only at their first year…

Again, without any information on Apogee’s employees the author takes another leap of faith, spouting that cutting off employees costs would result in higher profitability. However, various important elements remain unknown making the argument impossible to support: the number of employees to be laid off, the country or countries in which Apogee operates, company bylaws... Per se, increasing profitability would have to, among other things, depend on the cost of laying-off employees. For instance, protections for employees in a liberal country differ significantly from those in a social country where the cost of firing an important amount of workforce, and the possible class actions linked with it, is often quite dissuading.

In conclusion, the author has failed to present so many key elements—as stated above— that the argument, as is, can only be open to debate.
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Intern
Joined: 15 Sep 2015
Posts: 17

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01 May 2017, 05:06
Hi Brian,

“Neither stronger ethics regulations nor stronger enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure ethical behavior by companies doing business with this
department. We already have a code of ethics that companies doing business with this department are urged to abide by, and virtually all of these companies have agreed to follow it. We also know that the code is relevant to the current business environment because it was approved within the last year, and in direct response to specific violations committed by companies with which we were then working—not in abstract anticipation of potential violations, as so many such codes are.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

In this argument, the argument concludes that neither stronger ethics regulations nor stringer enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure that companies comply to the ethical behaviour while working with the government department. The conclusion is based on the premise that a relevant code of ethics, that companies are urged to abide by, already exists. However, this claim is based on unwarranted assumptions. The author omits some important concerns that must be addressed to substantiate the argument. Hence, the argument is flawed for several key reasons.

First, the author assumes that a stricter code of ethics for the companies is not required as there is a code of ethics that is already defined for the them. However, this statement is a stretch. If the companies currently working with the governmental department are not following the defined code or behaving in the expected righteous way, then possibly the existing code is not very effective and needs to be more rigorous.

Second, author assumes that existing code of ethics is very relevant to the companies currently working with the government. There is no evidence provided to support this. Also, this code was laid down in response to specific violations committed by previous companies that government worked with. It is possible that the business environment has changed in past one-year and the kind of company the government is working with differs significantly than the previous ones. Other possibility is that the government hierarchy structure or the employees could have changed and the earlier set up had a biased ethical policy towards a certain company.

Third, the author fails to mention current enforcement mechanisms in place and if these have been efficient in deriving the expected result. Also, these mechanisms might have been defined two years ago and may not be enforceable on the type of company the department is working with. For example, if government worked with a real-estate firm two years back in response to a PPP (private public partnership) signed between them, then the enforcement techniques and rules may vary significantly to that of an audit firm that government is currently working with. Hence, the conclusion is based on poor claims.

Lastly, the author blindly states that stringent ethical codes and enforcement mechanisms will not be effective in regulating the behaviour of the companies. However, there is no alternative solution provided. Stated this way, the conclusion is based on an oversimplified assumption.

In summary, the argument fails to include several key issues discussed above and hence, is weak and unconvincing. It could be strengthened if it provided some evidence as to why current ethical code or enforcement mechanism doesn’t work and offered an alternative solution.
Intern
Joined: 15 Sep 2015
Posts: 17

### Show Tags

01 May 2017, 05:11
Hi Brian,

“Neither stronger ethics regulations nor stronger enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure ethical behavior by companies doing business with this
department. We already have a code of ethics that companies doing business with this department are urged to abide by, and virtually all of these companies have agreed to follow it. We also know that the code is relevant to the current business environment because it was approved within the last year, and in direct response to specific violations committed by companies with which we were then working—not in abstract anticipation of potential violations, as so many such codes are.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

In this argument, the argument concludes that neither stronger ethics regulations nor stringer enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure that companies comply to the ethical behaviour while working with the government department. The conclusion is based on the premise that a relevant code of ethics, that companies are urged to abide by, already exists. However, this claim is based on unwarranted assumptions. The author omits some important concerns that must be addressed to substantiate the argument. Hence, the argument is flawed for several key reasons.

First, the author assumes that a stricter code of ethics for the companies is not required as there is a code of ethics that is already defined for the them. However, this statement is a stretch. If the companies currently working with the governmental department are not following the defined code or behaving in the expected righteous way, then possibly the existing code is not very effective and needs to be more rigorous.

Second, author assumes that existing code of ethics is very relevant to the companies currently working with the government. There is no evidence provided to support this. Also, this code was laid down in response to specific violations committed by previous companies that government worked with. It is possible that the business environment has changed in past one-year and the kind of company the government is working with differs significantly than the previous ones. Other possibility is that the government hierarchy structure or the employees could have changed and the earlier set up had a biased ethical policy towards a certain company.

Third, the author fails to mention current enforcement mechanisms in place and if these have been efficient in deriving the expected result. Also, these mechanisms might have been defined two years ago and may not be enforceable on the type of company the department is working with. For example, if government worked with a real-estate firm two years back in response to a PPP (public private partnership) signed between them, then the enforcement techniques and rules may vary significantly to that of an audit firm that government is currently working with. Hence, the conclusion is based on poor claims.

Lastly, the author blindly states that stringent ethical codes and enforcement mechanisms will not be effective in regulating the behaviour of the companies. However, there is no alternative solution provided. Stated this way, the conclusion is based on an oversimplified assumption.

In summary, the argument fails to include several key issues discussed above and hence, is weak and unconvincing. It could be strengthened if it provided some evidence as to why current ethical code or enforcement mechanism doesn’t work and offered an alternative solution.
Re: Please rate - Apogee Company &nbs [#permalink] 01 May 2017, 05:11
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