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The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of research and
development at Ready-to-Ware, a software engineering firm.
“The package of benefits and incentives that Ready-to-Ware offers to professional
staff is too costly. Our quarterly profits have declined since the package was
introduced two years ago, at the time of our incorporation. Moreover, the package
had little positive effect, as we have had only marginal success in recruiting and
training high-quality professional staff. To become more profitable again, Readyto-
Ware should, therefore, offer the reduced benefits package that was in place two
years ago and use the savings to fund our current research and development
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this memorandum the director of research and development of Ready-to-Ware recommends reducing the benefits package offered
to employees as a means of increasing profits and funding current research and development initiatives. The director’s line of reasoning
is that quarterly profits have declined because of the current benefits package and can be increased by reducing it. Moreover, the
director argues that the benefits package had little effect in recruiting and training high-quality employees. The director’s argument is
questionable for several reasons.
To begin with, the director’s reasoning is a classic instance of “after this, therefore because of this” reasoning. The only evidence put
forward to support the claim that the introduction of the benefits package is responsible for the decline in quarterly profits is that the
profits declined after the package was introduced. However, this evidence is insufficient to establish the causal claim in question. Many
other factors could bring about the same result. For example, the company may have failed to keep pace with competitors in
introducing new products or may have failed to satisfy its customers by providing adequate support services. Until these and other
possible factors are ruled out, it is premature to conclude that the introduction of the benefits package was the cause of the decline in
Next, the director assumes that the benefits package currently offered is responsible for the marginal success Ready-to-Ware has
experienced in recruiting and training new high-quality professionals. However, no evidence is offered to support this allegation. Other
reasons for Ready-to-Ware’s failure to attract high-quality professionals are not considered. For example, perhaps Ready-to-Ware is
not a cutting edge company or is not regarded as a leader in its field. Until these and other possible explanations of the company’s
marginal success at recruiting and training employees are examined and eliminated it is folly to conclude that the benefits package
provided to the professional staff is responsible.
In conclusion, the director has failed to provide convincing reasons for reducing the benefits package Ready-to-Ware currently offers its
professional staff. To further support the recommendation the director would have to examine and eliminate other possible reasons for
the decline in Ready-to-Ware’s quarterly profits and for its lack of success in attracting high-quality professionals.