Analysis of an Argument
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 to maintain 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 underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counter examples 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 in conclusion.
In this argument the author concludes that the Apogee Company should close down field offices and conduct all its operations from a single, centralized location because the company had been more profitable in the past when all its operations were in one location.
For a couple of reasons, this argument is not very convincing.
First, the author assumes that centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and streamlining supervision of employees. This assumption is not supported with any data or projections.
Moreover, the assumption fails to take into account cost increases and inefficiency that could result from centralization. For instance, company representatives would have to travel to do business in areas formerly served by a field office, creating travel costs and loss of critical time.
In short, this assumption must be supported by a thorough cost-benefit analysis of centralization versus other possible cost-cutting and / or profit – enhancing strategies.
Second, the only reason offered by the author is the claim that Apogee was more profitable when it had operated from a single, centralized location. But is centralization the only difference relevant to greater past profitability? It is entirely possible that management has become lax regarding any number of factors that can affect the bottom line – such as inferior products, careless product pricing, inefficient production, poor employee expense account monitoring, ineffective advertising, sloppy buying policies and other wasteful spending. Unless the author can rule out other factors relevant to diminishing profits, this argument commits the fallacy of assuming that just because one event (decreasing profits) follows another (decentralization), the second event has been caused by the first.
In conclusion, this is a weak argument. To strengthen the conclusion that Apogee should close field offices and centralize this author must provide a thorough cost-benefit analysis of available alternatives and rule out factors other than decentralization that might be affecting current profits negatively.
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The Analysis of an Argument-2 is quite different from the Analysis of an Issue.
Understand how the Analysis of an Argument-2 is different from the Analysis of an Issue and proceed.