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Author Message
Intern
Joined: 13 Jun 2012
Posts: 11

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15 Jun 2012, 03:11
4
2
AWA Question:

The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“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 maintains better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Essay:

The argument claimed by business department of the Apogee Company in a memorandum that centralization of the company and closing down its field offices is necessary to maximize the company’s profits and minimize the costs. They have wrongly used the centralization concept. Can a company that has expanded through a wide network of field offices can suddenly shut down just because it has failed to raise profits. Even though their claim may well have a merit, the business department presents a poorly and weak reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based solely on the evidence that it offers, we cannot accept their argument as valid.

The primary issue with the business department’s reasoning lies in their unsubstantiated premises. Some field offices may be profitable and some may be in loss making. The ones which are profitable cannot be shut down. Also instead of closing down the offices, it is better to analyze the problems with respect to internal and external. Internal problems such as corrupt or rigid management, inefficient workers, large attrition rate or sudden hiring rate, difficult working conditions. External problems such as any force majeure incidents such as flood, drought, earthquake, etc, poor customer’s response or competitor’s good hold on the market. Depending on the quantum of problem, it is better to list down the effective strategy with a set target date for the particular loss making office.

The secondary issue in the argument lies in the cost-benefit analysis. The business department has failed to explicitly mention that whether proper pros and cons were considered in the cost sheet. Initially, the cost benefit may seem to be high. Local field offices would have been much effective in handling local customers and vendors. If centralization of the company is adopted, then the employers have to travel for longer distances for business meetings, for providing services to the customers or for inspection at manufacturer’s works .Certainly, the cost will be higher and thus minimizing the profits as expected initially. The business development’s premises, the basis for their argument, lack any legitimate evidentiary support and render their conclusion as unacceptable.

The tertiary issue in the argument is high probability of getting a bad publicity. Simply closing the field offices for the process of cost-cutting will garner negative publicity in the market. The benefit will go to its competitors. Hence, the company will fall into a more vicious circle of reduced profit and bad reputation in the market. Hence, the business development weaken their argument by making assumptions and failing to provide explication of the links between increasing profits and closing down the field offices for centralization, that the department assume to be exists.

While the business department has several key issues in its argument’s premises and assumptions, that is not to say the entire argument is without base. The departments’ main objective was to identify the main area of loss in the company. If centralization was the only solution, the business department could have given more statistical data. It could have explained that centralized management would take the ultimatum decisions and could have provided an efficient business strategy. They could have suggested ways to handle the public attention for the closure of local field offices.

In sum, the business development’s illogical argument is based on unsupported premises and unsubstantiated assumptions that render their conclusion as invalid. They have overlooked the above addressed points. If the business development truly hopes to change its readers’ mind on the issue, they would have to largely restructure their argument, fix the flaws in their logic, clearly explicate their assumptions, and provide evidentiary support. Without, all these things, their poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.
Manager
Joined: 02 Jul 2016
Posts: 109

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30 May 2018, 11:08
Arunim wrote:
AWA Question:

The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“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 maintains better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Essay:

The argument claimed by business department of the Apogee Company in a memorandum that centralization of the company and closing down its field offices is necessary to maximize the company’s profits and minimize the costs. They have wrongly used the centralization concept. Can a company that has expanded through a wide network of field offices can suddenly shut down just because it has failed to raise profits. Even though their claim may well have a merit, the business department presents a poorly and weak reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based solely on the evidence that it offers, we cannot accept their argument as valid.

The primary issue with the business department’s reasoning lies in their unsubstantiated premises. Some field offices may be profitable and some may be in loss making. The ones which are profitable cannot be shut down. Also instead of closing down the offices, it is better to analyze the problems with respect to internal and external. Internal problems such as corrupt or rigid management, inefficient workers, large attrition rate or sudden hiring rate, difficult working conditions. External problems such as any force majeure incidents such as flood, drought, earthquake, etc, poor customer’s response or competitor’s good hold on the market. Depending on the quantum of problem, it is better to list down the effective strategy with a set target date for the particular loss making office.

The secondary issue in the argument lies in the cost-benefit analysis. The business department has failed to explicitly mention that whether proper pros and cons were considered in the cost sheet. Initially, the cost benefit may seem to be high. Local field offices would have been much effective in handling local customers and vendors. If centralization of the company is adopted, then the employers have to travel for longer distances for business meetings, for providing services to the customers or for inspection at manufacturer’s works .Certainly, the cost will be higher and thus minimizing the profits as expected initially. The business development’s premises, the basis for their argument, lack any legitimate evidentiary support and render their conclusion as unacceptable.

The tertiary issue in the argument is high probability of getting a bad publicity. Simply closing the field offices for the process of cost-cutting will garner negative publicity in the market. The benefit will go to its competitors. Hence, the company will fall into a more vicious circle of reduced profit and bad reputation in the market. Hence, the business development weaken their argument by making assumptions and failing to provide explication of the links between increasing profits and closing down the field offices for centralization, that the department assume to be exists.

While the business department has several key issues in its argument’s premises and assumptions, that is not to say the entire argument is without base. The departments’ main objective was to identify the main area of loss in the company. If centralization was the only solution, the business department could have given more statistical data. It could have explained that centralized management would take the ultimatum decisions and could have provided an efficient business strategy. They could have suggested ways to handle the public attention for the closure of local field offices.

In sum, the business development’s illogical argument is based on unsupported premises and unsubstantiated assumptions that render their conclusion as invalid. They have overlooked the above addressed points. If the business development truly hopes to change its readers’ mind on the issue, they would have to largely restructure their argument, fix the flaws in their logic, clearly explicate their assumptions, and provide evidentiary support. Without, all these things, their poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.

Can anybody give feedback for the following AWA? Also please tell me what approx score I may get for this.
Thanks

“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 maintains better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

In the given argument the author is recommending Apogee Company to operate from a single location to cut costs and improve profits. The above argument, though seems sound, has a number of flaws associated with it.

Firstly, the author has not cited anywhere in the argument the reasons for the reduction in profits. There can be many reasons such as recession, global market turbulence, etc. Hence, without knowing the actual reasons causing the reduction in profits, it will be incorrect to suggest any course of action. It is possible that there a global decline in profits which is not related to costs or that the level of profits for Apogee Company is still better than many of the competing firms dealing in the same business. Hence, proper reasons for this decline need to be investigated.

Secondly, the recommendation given by author to operate from a single location and close down its filed offices is flawed. The expansion of operations may, in fact, help Apogee Company to enter into new business avenues and expand its business. By operating from different locations, the company will be able to understand about different customer requirements .So assuming that operating from one location is the reason for the decrease in profits is wrong.

Because the argument leaves out key issues it is not well reasoned. Therefore, if the argument included the above points it would have been more thorough and convincing.
Intern
Joined: 20 Dec 2017
Posts: 36
Location: Singapore

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24 Jul 2018, 18:06
1
Hi everyone,

Here is my take on the essay for sharing purposes

------------------------

The argument claims that by closing down its field offices and by working from a single location, Apogee would be able to improve profitability and main better supervision of its employees. However, the argument is unconvincing as it suffers from several obvious flaws.

Firstly, the argument makes use of the current profitability of its field offices to conclude that having a single location work arrangement is better. However, this assumption is lacks substantiation. Perhaps Apogee had just expended its operations to multiple locations and that these field offices have yet to stabilize its operations and realize its full potential. To strengthen this point, the author should include more relevant information such as timeline and profit trends across several months.

Secondly, the author claims that by conducting all of its operations from a single location, profitability will improve due to reduced costs. However, this claim is definitely unfounded and could in fact result in an opposite effect. Perhaps the company has its operations spread across several countries, thus having only a single centralized office could drive up cost due to all the long-distance travelling required. To strengthen this point, the author should include information to suggest that its field offices were unnecessary in the present scope of operations.

Finally, the author also claims that having a centralized office will result in better supervision of its employees. Again, this claim is stretched. Perhaps the nature of work in Apogee requires its employees to be out in the field most of the time, and that Apogee has expended to multiple overseas markets. Having a centralized location would make it harder to monitor its field agents given the further proximity between the office and the field. To strengthen this point, the author should include information to suggest that nature of work allows for the better supervision of employees from a single location.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed due to a severe lack of substantiating information. In order to access the merits of each point made, it is necessary to have full knowledge of all contributing factors. The argument can be significantly strengthened by introducing sound evidence as described above.
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