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. The following appeared in a memorandum from the Director of Human
Resources to the executive officers of Company X.
“Last year, we surveyed our employees on improvements needed at Company X by
having them rank, in order of importance, the issues presented in a list of possible
improvements. Improved communications between employees and management
was consistently ranked as the issue of highest importance by the employees who
responded to the survey. As you know, we have since instituted regular
communications sessions conducted by high-level management, which the
employees can attend on a voluntary basis. Therefore, it is likely that most
employees at Company X now feel that the improvement most needed at the
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company has been made.”
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.(
The Director of Human Resources concludes that most employees at Company X feel that the improvement most needed at the
company has been satisfactorily addressed. Two reasons are offered in support of this conclusion. First, a survey of employees showed
that the issue respondents were most concerned about was employee-management communication. Second, the company has since
instituted regular voluntary sessions for employees and management designed to improve communication. The director’s argument is
questionable for two reasons.
To begin with, the validity of the survey is doubtful. Lacking information about the number of employees surveyed and the number of
respondents, it is impossible to assess the validity of the results. For example, if 200 employees were surveyed but only two responded,
the conclusion that most of the employees ranked employee-management communication as the most pressing issue would be highly
suspect. Because the argument offers no evidence that would rule out interpretations such as this, the survey results are insufficient to
support the author’s conclusion.
Furthermore, even if the survey accurately ranks certain issues according to level of employee concern, the highest-ranked issue in the
survey might not be the issue about which employees are most concerned. Why? The improvement most needed from the point of view
of the employees might not have appeared as one of the choices on the survey. For example, if the list of improvements presented on
the survey was created by management rather than by the employees, then the issues of greatest concern to the employees might not
be included on the list. Lacking information about how the survey was prepared, it is impossible to assess its reliability. Consequently,
any conclusion based on it is highly questionable.
In conclusion, the director’s conclusion is not well-founded. To strengthen the argument, additional information regarding the way in which
the employee survey was prepared and conducted is required.