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The following appeared in the editorial section of a
common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues
is false, or at least outdated: a
recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the
nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey questionnaires expressed a high
level of interest in the topics
of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs."
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
Based upon a survey among workers that
indicates a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring
and redesign of benefits
programs, the author concludes that workers are not apathetic
about management issues. Specifically, it
is argued that since 79 percent of the
1200 workers who responded to survey expressed interest in these topics, the
notion that workers are apathetic about
management issues is incorrect. The reasoning in this argument is problematic in
several respects. First, the statistics
cited in the editorial may be misleading because the total number of workers
employed by the corporation is not specified.
if the corporation employs 2000 workers, the fact that 79 percent of the nearly
1200 respondents showed interest in these
topics provides strong support for the conclusion. On the other hand, if the
corporation employs 200,000 workers, the conclusion
is much weaker.
Another problem with the argument is that the
respondents’ views are not necessarily representative of the views of the work
force in general. For example, because the
survey has to do with apathy,
it makes sense that only less apathetic workers would respond to it, thereby
distorting the overall picture of apathy among the work force. Without knowing
how the survey was conducted, it is impossible to
assess whether or not this is the case.
A third problem with the argument is that it
makes a hasty generalization about the types of issues workers are interested
in. It accords with common sense that
workers would be interested in corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits
programs, since these issues affect
workers very directly. However, it is unfair to assume that workers would be
similarly interested in other management issues ones
that do not affect them or affect them less directly.
In conclusion, this argument is not
convincing as it stands.
To strengthen it, the
author would have to show that the respondents account for
a significant and representative portion of all workers. Additionally, the
author must provide evidence of workers’ interest other management
topics not just those that affect workers directly.