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The following appeared as part of an article in a computer magazine.
“A year ago Apex Manufacturing bought its managers computers for their homes
and paid for telephone connections so that they could access Apex computers and
data files from home after normal business hours. Since last year, productivity at
Apex has increased by 15 percent. Other companies can learn from the success at
Apex: given home computers and access to company resources, employees will
work additional hours at home and thereby increase company profits.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this article the author attributes Apex Manufacturing’s 15 percent increase in productivity over the past year to its decision to equip
its manager with computers and paid telephone connections for their homes so that they would access company computers and files
from home after normal business hours. On the basis of Apex’s experience the author recommends that other companies follow Apex’s
example and provide computers and access to company resources to their employees. The author believes that such a policy would
increase productivity and profits for other companies, just as it did for Apex. The author’s line of reasoning is questionable for several
First, the author assumes that Apex’s increase in productivity is due to its equipping its managers with home computers and access to
company resources. However, the only evidence offered in support of this claim is the fact that Apex’s increase in productivity occurred
after the home computers and after-hoursHidden text (adv. ) access was provided. Unfortunately, this evidence is
insufficient to establish the causal claim in question. While temporal precedence is one of the conditions required to establish a causal
relationship between two events, by itself it is not a sufficient condition. Consequently, it is possible that Apex’s increase in productivity is
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not related to its decision to equip its managers with computers and after-hours access in the fashion required by the author’s
Second, the author assumes that Apex and other companies are sufficiently similar to warrant a conclusion based on an analogy
between them. Even if we accept the view that Apex’s increase in productivity was brought about by its policy of enabling its managers
to work from home, differences between Apex and other companies could nullify this result. Lacking detailed information about Apex
and the other companies in question it is difficult to assess the author’s conclusion.
In conclusion, the author’s argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to provide additional evidence for
the claim that Apex’s decision to provide its managers with home computers and access to company resources was responsible for its
increase in productivity. Furthermore, it would be necessary to show that Apex and other companies are sufficiently similar to justify the
analogy between them.